And now the most scintillating two minutes in television, the latest from the wartime grapevine.

The crushing defeat of the Taliban in Afghanistan, which some commentators thought would inflame the Muslim world, and especially the Muslim population of Pakistan, has apparently had the opposite effect, at least in Pakistan. The Washington Post reports widespread anger among Pakistanis at the Mullahs who encouraged young Muslims to join the Taliban cause and fight against the United States. Their families' anger, says the Post, "reflects a widespread disillusionment with religious leaders who rallied Pakistanis to the side of the Taliban, and a souring of the Islamic militancy that had produced volunteers for the cause."

Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, who as we noted last week lifted nearly verbatim passages from the works of two other historians, has now explained herself.  What happened, she wrote in Time Magazine, was when she came across passages in her handwritten notes from fellow writer Lynne McTaggart's work, she mistook the words for her own and put them in her book The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys as her own. When McTaggart complained, writes Goodwin, she made corrections for later editions, and that was that. What Goodwin does not mention was that she also paid McTaggart an undisclosed amount of money. Nor does Goodwin say anything about the passages nearly identical to parts of Hank Searls earlier book on Joseph P. Kennedy Jr., The Lost Prince.
Speaking of history, the State of New Jersey Department of Education has decided that the state's history teaching standards do not need to include such people as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin. But the standards do include mention of slavery opponents Theodore Dwight Weld and Angelina and Sarah Grimke. An official explained to the Washington Times there's no need to tell teachers about Washington, Jefferson and Franklin because they are bound to come up. But as for the other three, "They're not readily known and we don't know whether the teachers will know to teach them."

Finally, the Justice Department is spending $8,000 for fabric to drape over the bare shoulders and bust of a statue in the Department's Great Hall. Officials insist the Attorney General had nothing to do with the decision, but that an aide said the camera shot would look better without the bare breasted woman behind the place where Mr. Ashcroft speaks.