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The ultimate presidential cabinet of celebrities

By Jesse Rifkin
On January 28, 2013

Over the past month, President Obama has nominated several new second-term appointees to Cabinet positions and other federal agencies, advisors who are instrumental in shaping our nation's policies and laws. Some people are criticizing Obama for not selecting enough females or minorities. But I would like to bring attention to another obviously neglected population: not enough celebrities.
Who would make the All-Star Celebrity Presidential Cabinet? (©2013. All rights reserved.)
Secretary of Defense: Chuck Norris. Chuck Norris doesn't do pushups, he pushes the earth down. Chuck Norris has already been to Mars, that's why there are no signs of life there. Death once had a near-Chuck-Norris experience. Star of the 1990s action series "Walker Texas Ranger," there is nobody more intimidating or a better choice to lead our military. Although Norris might have some explaining to do regarding his commercial last year warning that reelecting Obama would be "the first step into a thousand years of darkness." Actual quote.
Secretary of Education: Bill Nye. How much you still remember of what you learned back in elementary school. If you are like me or millions of other people roughly my age, much of what you remember came from the television show "Bill Nye the Science Guy," featuring the simultaneous comedian/scientist who famously taught us about winged creatures through the gangster rap song "Talkin' 'Bout Birds." His show ended in 1998, and only since then have you heard the constant drumbeat about America losing its educational advantage to other advancing nations. Coincidence? I think not.
Department of Justice: Michael Eakin. The Attorney General, who heads the Department of Justice, is essentially the nation's top lawyer and law enforcement official. Eakin, a judge on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, has achieved notoriety for writing many of his judicial opinions completely as rhymes. Reading some of his more eloquent opinions is like imagining Dr. Seuss as a judge. "Appellant then filed a contract suit / But the verdict gave her claim the boot / Thus she was left with no resort / But this appeal to the Superior Court." You can't make this stuff up.
Secretary of the Treasury: Bill Gates. The occupant of this position is the president's principal economic advisor. Unfortunately, the current economic climate makes it very challenging for new college graduates to attain employment, as all of you except engineering majors are aware. When businesses are having a difficult time, turn to the man who started Microsoft from scratch and created the world's fourth-largest company. When people don't have enough money, turn to the self-made billionaire who has been America's richest person every year since 1993. The man must be doing something right, haircut aside.
Secretary of Health and Human Services: Elsie Thompson. Born in 1899, the oldest living person in the United States is 113 years old. (Add another year if she survives until April 5.) She has lived through three separate centuries and yet keeps on going. Plus, an article in the Tampa Bay Times lists her favorite food as cookies. Anybody who eats a lot of cookies and still lives that long knows something about health that the rest of us do not.
Press Secretary: Morgan Freeman. Though not technically a Cabinet position, this person answers questions posed by the media at a press conference once a day, every day. Morgan Freeman has perhaps the greatest voice of anybody alive. Just listen to it. Go ahead, I'll wait. If the job of your Press Secretary is to convince the American public to come around to your point of view, you would have to be practically inhuman to not be convinced by Freeman's voice, regardless of what he is actually saying.
NASA Administrator: Neil DeGrasse Tyson. The world's premier space exploration and research agency should be led by the America's premier science popularizer. You might know him from his appearances on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" and "The Colbert Report." Or his Twitter account with almost one million followers. (Most recent post: "In 5-billion yrs the Sun will expand & engulf our orbit as the charred ember that was once Earth vaporizes. Have a nice day.") Or his being named as People Magazine's "Sexiest Astrophysicist Alive." (Seriously.) Not only would Tyson effectively lead NASA, he would likely use his position to reinvigorate American interest in the sciences - and astronomical sciences specifically - more effectively than any of his predecessors.
So there you go: the ultimate Presidential Cabinet. And apologies to Matt Damon. We ran out of time.

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