US President Barack Obama speaks during his farewell address in Chicago, Illinois on January 10, 2017. (NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

Since Jan. 1, President Obama has announced his intent to appoint 123 people to "key Administration posts" -- as the standard verbiage accompanying those announcements goes. That's 123 people who may, in the last three weeks of Obama's presidency, be granted positions on government boards, within government agencies or as representatives of the United States abroad.

Sometimes for only those three weeks.

The definition of "key posts" is a subjective one. We can illustrate that best by listing the nominees Obama has put forward and the positions for which they've been nominated.

  • Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Member, President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition
  • Paulette Aniskoff. Member, President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition
  • David J. Arroyo. Member of the Board of Directors of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting
  • Daniel Benjamin. Member, United States Holocaust Memorial Council
  • Herbert Block. Member, Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad
  • Michael Bosworth. Member, United States Holocaust Memorial Council
  • Terry Boston. Member, National Infrastructure Advisory Council
  • Charles R. Breyer. Member of the United States Sentencing Commission
  • David V. Brewer. Member of the Board of Directors of the State Justice Institute
  • Christopher James Brummer. Commissioner of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission
  • Caitlin Cahow. Member, President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition
  • Kristie Canegallo. Member, J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board
  • Robert Carrigan. Member, President’s National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee
  • Jason Collins. Member and Co-Chair, President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition
  • Pamela Coleman. Member, President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition
  • Carrie Conaway. Member, National Board for Education Sciences
  • Joseph Cox. Member, Board of Visitors to the United States Merchant Marine Academy
  • Waded Cruzado. Member, Board for International Food and Agricultural Development
  • Chase Cushman. Member, President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition
  • Janine Davidson. Member, National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service
  • Brady Deaton. Member, Board for International Food and Agricultural Development
  • Christa Dietzen. Member, President's Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition
  • Cristin Dorgelo. Member, National Infrastructure Advisory Council
  • Gabrielle Douglas. Member, President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition
  • Ann Marie Bledsoe Downes. Member, Board of Trustees of the Institute of American Indian and Alaska Native Cultural and Arts Development
  • Mary Ellen Barbera. Member of the Board of Directors of the State Justice Institute
  • Rebecca Emily Rapp. Member of the Board of Directors of the Legal Services Corporation
  • Debra Eschmeyer. Member, President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition
  • Annette Evans Smith. Member, National Museum and Library Services Board
  • Elizabeth A. Field. Inspector General, Office of Personnel Management
  • Anita Fineday. Member, Alyce Spotted Bear and Walter Soboleff Commission on Native Children
  • Glenn Fine. Inspector General, Department of Defense
  • Benjamin Flanner. Member, President's Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition
  • Christopher Fonzone. Member, J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board
  • Brent Franklin Nelsen. Member of the Board of Directors of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting
  • David Francis. Member, National Board for Education Sciences
  • John Franke. Member, Cultural Property Advisory Committee
  • Raffi Freedman-Gurspan. Member, United States Holocaust Memorial Council
  • Charles Galbraith. Member, Institute of American Indian and Alaska Native Culture Arts Development, Board of Trustees
  • Suzy George. Member, National Security Education Board
  • Christy Goldfuss. Member, National Infrastructure Advisory Council
  • Samuel Gordon. Member, United States Holocaust Memorial Council
  • Maneesh Goyal. Member, J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board
  • Jayne Greenberg. Member, President's Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition
  • Avril Haines. Member, National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service
  • Adrienne Harris. Member, Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations
  • Grant Harris. Member, United States Holocaust Memorial Council
  • Todd Phillip Haskell. Ambassador to the Republic of the Congo
  • Allan Holt. Member, United States Holocaust Memorial Council
  • Sarah Hurwitz. Member, United States Holocaust Memorial Council
  • Tissa Illangasekare. Member, Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board
  • Valerie Jarrett. General Trustee, Board of Trustees of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
  • Barbara Jenkins. Member, Board of Directors of the National Board for Education Sciences
  • Carole Johnson. Member, National Cancer Advisory Board
  • Rosemary Joyce. Member, Cultural Property Advisory Committee
  • Jason E. Kearns. Member, U.S. International Trade Commission
  • John W. Keker. Member, Board of Directors of the Presidio Trust
  • Behnaz Kibria. Member, Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations
  • Sen. Angus King. Member, Roosevelt Campobello International Park Commission
  • Markos Kounalakis. Member, J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board
  • Edward Lazarus. Member, United States Holocaust Memorial Council
  • Michael P. Leary. Inspector General, Social Security Administration
  • Carolyn N. Lerner. Special Counsel, Office of Special Counsel
  • Carli Lloyd. Member and Co-Chair, President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition
  • Susan Lowenberg. Member, United States Holocaust Memorial Council
  • Marjorie Margolies. Member, Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad
  • Wilfredo Martinez. Member of the Board of Directors of the State Justice Institute
  • Russ McDonald. Member, Alyce Spotted Bear and Walter Soboleff Commission on Native Children
  • Michael McFaul. Member, National Security Education Board
  • Tara McGuinness. Member, President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition
  • Rudy Mehrbani. Member, J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board
  • Jason Miller. Member, Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations
  • Ibtihaj Muhammad. Member, President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition
  • Tulinabo Salama Mushingi. Ambassador to the Republic of Senegal
  • Gayle A. Nachtigal. Member of the Board of Directors of the State Justice Institute
  • Tamar Newberger. Member, United States Holocaust Memorial Council
  • Shannon O’Neil. Member, Western Hemisphere Drug Policy Commission
  • Sylvia Orozco. Member, National Museum and Library Services Board
  • Eric Ortner. Member, United States Holocaust Memorial Council
  • DJ Patil. Member, National Infrastructure Advisory Council
  • Mark Pincus. Member, Board of Directors of the Presidio Trust
  • Amy Pope. Member, National Infrastructure Advisory Council
  • Michael Posner. Member, United States Holocaust Memorial Council
  • Mark Pryor. Member, J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board
  • Brian D. Quintenz. Commissioner of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission
  • Natalie Quillian. Member, J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board
  • Danny C. Reeves. Member of the United States Sentencing Commission
  • Daniel Restrepo. Member, Western Hemisphere Drug Policy Commission
  • Benjamin Rhodes. Member, United States Holocaust Memorial Council
  • Susan Rice. General Trustee, Board of Trustees of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
  • Anthony Robles. Member, President's Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition
  • Lawrence Roberts. Member, Board of Trustees of the Institute of American Indian and Alaska Native Cultural and Arts Development
  • Roberto Rodriguez. Member, J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board
  • Chase Rogers. Member of the Board of Directors of the State Justice Institute
  • Melissa Rogers. Member, United States Holocaust Memorial Council
  • Jessica Rosenworcel. Member of the Federal Communications Commission
  • Menachem Rosensaft. Member, United States Holocaust Memorial Council
  • Andrea Sanders. Member, Institute of American Indian and Alaska Native Culture Arts Development, Board of Trustees
  • Addy Schmitt. Member, District of Columbia Judicial Nomination Commission
  • Eric D. Schwerin. Member, Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad
  • Erica Schwartz. Member, Board of Visitors to the United States Merchant Marine Academy
  • Maureen Schulman. Member, United States Holocaust Memorial Council
  • Joan Ellyn Silber. Member, Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad
  • Shawn Skelly. Member, National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service
  • Claudia Slacik. Member of the Board of Directors of the Export-Import Bank of the United States
  • Linda Smith. Member, Board of Directors of the National Board for Education Sciences
  • Brad Snyder. Member, President's Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition
  • Robert P. Storch. Inspector General of the National Security Agency
  • Louis Susman. Member, Board of Trustees of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
  • Deborah Taylor. Member, National Museum and Library Service Board
  • Dan Utech. Member, National Infrastructure Advisory Council
  • Barbara Van Dahlen. Member, President's Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition
  • Lothar von Falkenhausen. Member, Cultural Property Advisory Committee
  • Andrew Weinstein. Member, United States Holocaust Memorial Council
  • Lesley Weiss. Member, Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad
  • Matthew L. Wiener. Member and Vice Chairman, Council of the Administrative Conference of the United States
  • Karol Wight. Member, Cultural Property Advisory Committee
  • Daniel Willingham. Member, Board of Directors of the National Board for Education Sciences
  • Nancy Wilkie. Member, Cultural Property Advisory Committee
  • James Wright Willis. Member, Cultural Property Advisory Committee
  • Tarajean Yazzie-Mintz. Member, Board of Directors of the National Board for Education Sciences
  • Jonathan L. Zittrain. Member, National Museum and Library Service Board
  • Gary P. Zola. Member, Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad

You'll note that we've bolded some of those names.

In some cases, that's to highlight names you may have heard. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Gabby Douglas. Valerie Jarrett, who will transition from senior advisor to Obama to serving as a trustee for the Kennedy Center. Ambassador Susan Rice, who will join her. Senators current -- Angus King -- and former -- Mark Pryor -- to sit on boards and commissions.

In other cases, it's to highlight positions of significance, such as those that would require Senate confirmation. Four inspectors general, for the NSA, Department of Defense, Social Security Administration and Office of Personnel Management. Nominees for the FCC and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (both of which were reappointments).

Two of the bold-faced names are people who were nominated to serve as ambassadors to foreign countries, Congo and Senegal specifically. The incoming administration has told a number of existing ambassadors that they must leave those positions by Jan. 20. So even if those two nominees were approved today, they'd likely be allowed to serve as ambassadors for only about 40 hours.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest was asked about this flurry of nominations during his daily press conference on Tuesday -- and about that ambassador to the Congo in particular.

"Why is this happening now?" Reuters' Jeff Mason asked. "Do you have any ethical concerns about doing this sort of on the way out?"

"These are outstanding members of the community, some of whom have served this President and this White House, and have done so with extraordinary distinction," Earnest replied. "And these are new and different ways for them to serve that appeal to their own personal interests.  So I think this is -- I know this is entirely consistent with what previous Presidents have done."

But, Yahoo's Olivier Knox asked, why bother with the ambassadors? "I can’t imagine you think that is going to get confirmed," he asked. "What’s the rationale behind that?"

"The first is, you never know," Earnest said. "Second is -- so you’re saying there’s a chance?"

This was a "Dumb and Dumber" reference.

He then offered two other reasons.

First, "this is also sending a clear signal to Congress about who are people who are qualified for these jobs," he said. And second, "there are many deserving, worthy, talented Americans who have been put forward by this administration and who have been treated in breathtakingly unfair ways by Republicans in Congress."

Put another way: The administration doesn't really expect that Todd Phillip Haskell will need to fly to Congo -- an 18-hour flight, with one layover, from Dulles -- in order to fulfill his duties before noon on Friday. The statement, apparently, is in the nominations themselves.