When President Bush has failed to win political support for unpopular appointees to various government and judicial posts, he has waited until Congress was out of session and installed these folks as "recess appointments" that don't need Senate confirmation. The maneuver doesn't ensure permanence, but the appointees can stay in office long enough to do some damage. People like Sam Fox, who donated lots of money to Swiftboat Veterans for Truth, for instance, and the ill-tempered conservative John Bolton both snuck into ambassadorial suites while members of Congress were back home glad-handing constituents.
This week, though, the Senate has decided to hold just enough pro forma sessions to prevent an official congressional recess for Thanksgiving. They won't be doing much but sitting around twiddling their thumbs and talking to the C-Span cameras, but their presence in D.C. will prevent Bush from putting people in high places without first getting the Senate's stamp of approval.