The country's attention has rightfully been focused on the inauguration of Barack Obama and our pressing economic - I don't want to say "woes" or "downturn" - "economic death spiral" works.

The country's attention has rightfully been focused on the inauguration of Barack Obama and our pressing economic - I don't want to say "woes" or "downturn" - "economic death spiral" works.

But, these aren't the only games in town. Over the last few weeks, the Senate has been checking on President Obama's cabinet appointees.

First up is Eric Holder, the man who would be attorney general. Obviously, attorney general has been kind of a controversial position during the Bush years. Let's see if Holder has the right stuff as he answers questions about torture, executive power and his role in the pardoning of fugitive financier Marc Rich.

"I agree with you, Mr. Chairman, waterboarding is torture ... Mr. Chairman, no one is above the law ... I've made mistakes and my conduct, my actions in the Rich matter was a place where I've made mistakes ... I will be a better attorney general should I be confirmed from having had the Marc Rich experience," said Holder.

You're blowing it!

Two things: One, don't distract me by making reference to my favorite power rock trio, The Marc Rich Experience. Have you ever gotten high and really fled to Switzerland?

Number two, why are you answering these questions in unequivocal, straightforward terms? You're trying to be attorney general; you're charged with keeping our government completely immune from our nation's laws. Need I remind you how it's done?

"I don't know what's involved in the technique. If waterboarding is torture, then torture is not constitutional," said former attorney general Michael Mukasey during his confirmation hearing.

The recipe is simple: one cup evasiveness, two teaspoons feigned stupidity, and top it off with a whiff of prickish condescension.

You see, folks, we need comedic references to help us get through the confirmation hearings, because they are very boring.

Then there's Tim Geithner, Obama's choice for U. S. secretary of what used to be the Treasury. Geithner's nomination ran into a problem when it turned out this uniquely qualified individual failed to pay $34,000 in taxes between 2001 and 2004.

"They were avoidable mistakes, but they were unintentional," said Geithner, who used Turbo Tax to prepare his tax returns. Nice endorsement. It's up there with Richard Nixon for Maxell cassette tapes and Michael Vick for Purina Dog Chow.

And then there's Arne Duncan, education secretary nominee, who brought his kids to the confirmation hearing, setting a great example for the nation by having his kids skip school so they could fetch him water.

Way to pull off the truancy/child labor law violation/boring the crap out of your kids trifecta.

Hey kids, good news - you get to miss school today. Bad news - you're going to a confirmation hearing.

Then there's Steven Chu, nominated for secretary of energy, who is already the winner of the Nobel Prize in physics. Nerd alert!

Of course I would be remiss if I didn't mention our esteemed dais, our lawmakers.

John Tester, a Democrat from Montana, who is a great guy. By the way, Johnnie Unitas called and he wants his hair cut back. After the hearing we're all going to use Tester's head to clean our golf shoes.

And there's Senator Bob Bennett from Utah, who we last saw not letting Bob Cratchit have Christmas off. Seriously, that guy looks like the first five minutes of Benjamin Button.

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