Punch Lines

Refinishing the Cabinet: No sooner is President Clinton reelected than several of his top appointees announce plans to hit the road:

* "After all those trips to earthquake-plagued California, it's only fitting that he'd lose several valuable pieces from his Cabinet." (Joshua Sostrin)

* "What, did they finally free up some prison space?" (Alex Pearlstein)

* "They're all being very polite when they resign. They go in and say, 'Pardon me . . . ' " (Russ Myers)

* "Worse, Hazel O'Leary is handling their travel arrangements." (Bob Mills)

* "A White House spokesman denied rumors that David Brinkley has been tapped to be Clinton's new speech writer." (Mills)


In the news: An 18-year-old intern said O.J. Simpson has been sexually harassing her in court. Says Brian J. Hill, "Simpson's attorney calls it a complete lie and claims Mark Fuhrman planted her in the courtroom."

Doctors have ordered Boris Yeltsin to quit drinking. Says Argus Hamilton, "The first thing he asked after surgery was what had happened while he was unconscious. He couldn't believe the Berlin Wall had come down, much less that he was president."

Scientists say the killer bees have stopped migrating into California. Says Alan Ray, "Researchers believe environmental factors forced their retreat: They got a look at the real estate market."

"Hard Copy" promises to stop buying nosy video footage of celebrities from paparazzi. Says Alex Kaseberg, "Great, now what am I supposed to do with this secret tape of JFK Jr. assisting with Madonna's delivery?"

* Adds the Cutler Daily Scoop, "George Clooney led the boycott that forced this decision. Three years ago, the only person who wanted to take Clooney's picture was the clerk at the DMV."

The IRS is going after singer Stevie Nicks over her deductions for clothes and makeup. Sings Cutler, "Don't . . . stop . . . thinkin' about an audit . . . "

The world is really changing, says the Olympia Daily World. "Who would have predicted that, seven years from now, we could look forward to meeting Madonna and Michael Jackson at a PTA meeting?"


Wise guys only: The honor society Phi Beta Kappa is losing clout because many students think it is out of touch with today's youth. Suggests Jerry Perisho:

* "Let in Queen Latifah and change the name to 'Phi Beta Rappa.' "

* "Admit that kid who snagged the home run in Yankee Stadium and call it 'Phi Beta Whippa-Snappa.' "

Adds Jenny Church, "Most slackers don't know Phi Beta Kappa from Yabba Dabba Doo."


Reader Jan Day of Malibu says 5-year-old Megan Boivert of Bethel, Vt., was encouraged to say a prayer when her father was in the hospital. She said:

"Please make Daddy well so he can play with us again. He is sick now so we can't jump on him."

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