Pop culture from Southern California and beyond.

Existential quote from freshman Republican on how much power representatives actually have

When someone gets elected to Congress, how much power do they actually have? Not much, according to Tea Party-supported Texas Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold.

“I went in with the youthful vigor that I could single-handedly change the world. But you fast come to the realization that you’re 1/435th of one-half of one-third of the government.”

USA Today spoke with freshmen members of the House of Representatives about how they were transitioning from campaign mode to governing; many noted the difficulties they face in Washington.

Farenthold continued, "I don't know how these bureaucrats sleep at night." Farenthold says there's a lot of power to the status quo. "Nobody in the Washington regulatory bureaucracy gets fired for saying no."

Others express more optimism about what they can accomplish. "I'm not a freshman. I'm just new in Congress," says Rep. David McKinley.


Why did Obama reveal his birth certificate? One potential reason: Merchandise

Speculation has been running rampant about why President Barack Obama waited to reveal his long-form birth certificate that so-called "birthers" had been demanding for years, days before Navy SEALs killed Osama bin Laden.

Well, there's a new reason: merchandise. On Obama's campaign site, BarackObama.com, you can now purchase "Made in the USA" t-shirts and mugs with pictures of Obama's birth certificate on them.

In an email to supporters announcing the merchandise, the campaign also went after Jerome Corsi's new book "Where's the Birth Certificate?" Corsi wrote his book long before Obama released his birth certificate, but the book wasn't released until after the reveal.

It uses Corsi to transition into the merchandise: "There's really no way to make this stuff completely go away. The only thing we can do is laugh at it—and make sure as many other people as possible are in on the joke."


Obama's latest accomplishment: Getting a girl a meeting with Justin Bieber

New York magazine's Daily Intel ran a story last week about how President Obama had just made a promise that he couldn't keep: getting a 14-year-old girl whose father was killed in the attack on the World Trade Center the chance to meet pop megastar Justin Bieber. The girl, Payton Wall, says that Bieber's music helped her survive, despite her loss.

Obama made that promise during last week's ceremony at ground zero, meeting with Payton, her sister Avery and their mother Diane. Obama told Payton that he "knows Justin" and would set a meeting up with Bieber.

Well, Justin Bieber just proved New York magazine wrong – he tweeted that Obama would be keeping this promise.

What I find most notable about this story: it's apparently easier to get a meeting with the president of the United States than with Justin Bieber.


New thing that's bad for you: Sitting

This infographic, "Sitting Is Killing You: The Truth About Sitting Down," has been going around the Internet all day. It makes use of visuals that look like what little kids see in the dark to emphasize the negative health effects of sitting. The chart also offers helpful tips to avoid a sitting death.

As people move to more desk jobs that require more hours sitting in front of a computer, what's the effect on our health? From Medical Billing and Coding:

Sitting is Killing You

(via Andrew Sullivan)


Pomplamoose covers the Angry Birds theme song

We've extolled the virtues of Pomplamoose before, the quirky male/female pair who put out music videos of their work that show how each sound in that song was produced.

However, they've just released their most off the wall creation to date: A cover of a song familiar to the hordes of Angry Birds players the world over, the Angry Birds theme (at least those not covertly playing the game with the sound off).

True diehards will have to wait for covers of the versions from later releases of the game, but you can enjoy Version 1 below:

For your listening pleasure, more Pomplamoose:

Michael Jackson's "Beat It":

Earth, Wind & Fire's "September":

The Chordettes' "Mister Sandman":