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

It fell to a little-known Web site to report it first, but it appears that U.S. missile defense engineers have scored a hit in a test in which actually hitting a target was not even expected. Aviationnow.com says that missile defense agency engineers last Friday were testing a piece of navigation and control equipment. They took aim at a test target missile that was fired from a missile range facility on the Hawaiian Island of Kauai. The engineers fired their anti-missile missile from the USS Lake Erie, a ballistic missile test ship, not expecting to actually hit the target, but they hit it anyway, to their surprise.

California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, just back from a visit to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, says the prisoners being held there are being better treated than criminals doing time in some California jails.  In fact, Feinstein said that given a choice between Cuba and San Quentin, she'd take Guantanamo Bay. She also said she agrees with the President that those being held there are dangerous and should not be treated as prisoners of war.

Robert Altman, the American movie director, who said last week that he finds the Bush administration "disgusting" and the President himself "an embarrassment," and the American flag "a joke," has issued a clarification. He does not deny the quotes, but says they were "taken out of context." He described himself as "a proud American and a proud New Yorker who has lived in that great city for 30 years." He does not explain how that fits with his further statement last week that he would be happy to stay in London for the rest of his life because "There's nothing in America that I would miss at all."

A high school student in Lubbock, Texas, who wrote a letter to the editor of the local newspaper is claiming in court that the school superintendent told him he could no longer do that without the school system's approval. The Lubbock Avalanche Journal reports that 16-year-old Justin Latimer says he wrote to the paper to complain that the school band was not allowed to play Amazing Grace, as planned, during a tribute to the 9/11 victims. After the letter appeared, Latimer said in a lawsuit, the school superintendent forbid him to do it without prior school approval. The school system has not responded to the lawsuit.