March 12, 2003
Circulars -- new stories, links, etc. (and apologies for spamming)

There were some glitches in the notifications sent from the blog so some of you were receiving tons of repetitive emails from us... sorry. New policy: no emails from Circulars unless it's cumulative accounts like the following list of new stories (or if the house is on fire).

News: the site has been averaging about 2,000 hits a day, sometimes peaking at 3,000+. It also has a search engine. I'll be rearranging the categories and such things to make it more cogent.

Thanks to all of you who have appreciative emails about the site, and apologies if some of the links and stories sent in have not made it up in a timely fashion.

Please try to pass this email on to friends of yours who want to test our eclectic mix of plagiarized news stories, tasteless political humor, the most oblique (but best) political poetry out there and a really, really lively comments section -- I highly recommend perusing through it.

Following is a list of some of the items from the present homepage. I'm too tired right now to write anything more than this bland preamble but so be it. Take care.

Letter of Resignation by John H. Brown, Foreign Service Officer
To: Secretary of State Colin Powell
March 10, 2003
Dear Mr. Secretary:
I am joining my colleague John Brady Kiesling in submitting my resignation from the Foreign Service (effective immediately) because I cannot in good conscience support President Bush's war plans against Iraq.

So, Emilie and Lytle, who were arrested for posting pictures of Iraqis in Soho, will have their day in court tomorrow morning at the Criminal Court of Manhattan. The Baghdad Snapshot Action Crew will be their to support them. You should show up with your friends and support them too. Info below...

Charles Bernstein: Enough!
In these difficult times, let us not draw away from our poetics in an attempt to redress the ominous possibilities of future U.S. government policies or the onerous effects of current government policies. As poets, we need to pursue our own forms of ethical and aesthetic response rather than engage in the sort of pronouncement by fiat and moral presumption of President Bush and his partisans.

UPI: Pentagon Papers Leaker Seeks Leaks on Iraq
WASHINGTON -- Daniel Ellsberg, who in 1971 leaked the Pentagon Papers, on Tuesday called on government officials to leak documents to Congress and the press showing the Bush administration is lying in building its case against Saddam Hussein.

Gothic News: New Bush Portrait Found Hanging Upside Down from Mount Rushmore
(Gothic News Service, 3/10/03) Early Sunday morning visitors to Mount Rushmore reported that they were astonished to find they could not look up the 5,725-foot mountain and see the 60-foot high carved stone heads of U.S Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. Instead, they found themselves looking at a large painted portrait of President Bush hanging upside down on a cable stretched several hundred feet between the barely exposed foreheads of Lincoln and Washington.

Salt Publishing: 100 Poets Against The War
The most talked-about and successful ebook of recent years is published here for the first time in paperback. “100 Poets Against The War,” a trilogy of downloadable electronic chapbooks was first published online on January 27, 2003 and has since made world-wide news from the LA Times to the Moscow dailies. This book holds the record for the fastest poetry anthology ever assembled and disseminated; first planned on January 20, 2003 and published in this form on March 3, 2003.

Russell Mokhiber: Ari & I
[One of the nice features of are the postings by Russell Mokhiber of his unedited interactions with White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer during the daily press briefings. Here's the latest one.]

Doug Rokke: Depleted Uranium, the War Against Ouselves (interview)
Traprock Peace Center
QUESTION: Any viewer who saw the war on television had the impression this was an easy war, fought from a distance and soldiers coming back relatively unharmed. Is this an accurate picture?
ROKKE: At the completion of the Gulf War, when we came back to the United States in the fall of 1991, we had a total casualty count of 760: 294 dead, a little over 400 wounded or ill. But the casualty rate now for Gulf War veterans is approximately 30 percent. Of those stationed in the theater, including after the conflict, 221,000 have been awarded disability, according to a Veterans Affairs (VA) report issued September 10, 2002.

Gothic News: Burning Man Festival Site in Protest Ritual
(Gothic News Service, 3/9/03) Two Rangers at Black Rock Desert – the annual site in Nevada for the Burning Man Festival - were greeted by a strange vision this morning. Talking to a Reno newspaperman, one of the Rangers reported, "It was sunrise across the playa and we were on our first patrol. When we looked down from the perimeter ridge, we initially saw an astonishingly large grid of either body or garbage bags. Through our binoculars, against the rising sun, we could still see that they were definitely filled - it could have been potatoes or anything big and lumpy. Each bag was spaced about 30 feet away from the next one - about 50 parallel lines going north and south, and about 40 going east and west. The whole thing made a large rectangular space, about a mile long and a kilometer wide. Frankly I can’t say if was just spooky, or both spooky and spectacular, to see all those black bags begin to get the first rays of the sun." A Better Idea
[Excerpted from an article by Judy Rebick recently posted on, a Canadian alternative online media source. has a special anti-war coverage section as well, featuring great articles, columnists, and events around Canada.]
from A Better Idea by Judy Rebick:
The Lysistrata Project, one of the many anti-war actions sweeping the globe, reminds us that women’s opposition to war goes back a long way in human history. While I am glad to see a revival of the ancient comedy of women refusing sex to men if they go off to war, I would a prefer a more modern version of women’s resistance. How about a story where women form a global non-violent army and rise up against the men in power?

USA Today's Tips for American Tourists
A survey in the February issue of Conde Nast Traveler states that according to a recent Gallup poll, a declining number of Americans (54% today vs. 79% a year ago) believes that the USA enjoys a favorable image abroad. Further, a majority of Americans (64%) cite a fear of unfriendliness as the top concern of traveling abroad during wartime.

Currency War
Many analysts believe that the real reason for the upcoming US war on Iraq is the Bush administration's goal of preventing further Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) movement toward the euro as an oil transaction currency standard (Iraq has already made the switch). As long as oil is traded predominantly in US dollars, it's easier for the US to maintain economic control over world oil reserves. Following are links to a number of stories on this subject...

Joshua Clover: What Is Called Violence
[This is largely in response to Keston's Short Critique of Pacifism. I am making a new post rather than a comment since in part I hope to use this as a sort of informal poll on a specific question (at the end of this post). All links open new window]
Keston's critique is a concise and articulate distillation of a long and long-elaborated debate. I admire it for that, and I should say that I also agree with its central beliefs. It has two lacunae worth talking about, which I hope will lead from its abstract clarity to a pragmatic discussion of direct action tactics.

Ron Silliman: On The Social Mark Symposium
[I'd like to reproduce Ron Silliman's recent post on The Social Mark symposium on Circulars but it's proving to hard to format, so I advise going to his blog to read the post -- which goes on to consider Ginsberg and various aspects of affect and content in "political" poetry -- in its entirety.]
"Like its cousin ambiguity, empathy is something that is exceptionally difficult to communicate in any function of life, let alone a poem. It is absolutely not possible in a text that seeks agreement, or which seeks to demonize anyone..."

The Observer: Revealed: US dirty tricks to win vote on Iraq war
Secret document details American plan to bug phones and emails of key Security Council members
[A useful reminder, perhaps, that the new possibilities for organized resistance presented by better communications technology are at the same time new possibilities for the defense of imperialism. -- Keston Sutherland]
The United States is conducting a secret 'dirty tricks' campaign against UN Security Council delegations in New York as part of its battle to win votes in favour of war against Iraq. Details of the aggressive surveillance operation, which involves interception of the home and office telephones and the emails of UN delegates in New York, are revealed in a document leaked to The Observer.

A Mini-Anthology of Anti-War Poems
[Taken from Enough! from O Books]
Rod Smith
So there’s this episode of Mary Tyler Moore where Ted’s trying to get a raise & after finagling and shenaniganizing he puts one over on Lou & gets his contract changed to non-exclusive sos he can do commercials which is not cool WI Lou & the gang because Ted’s just a brainless gimp & it hurts the image of the news to have the anchorman selling tomato slicers & dogfood so Lou gets despondent because the contract can’t be rescinded but then he gets mad & calls Ted into his office & says, you know his voice, “You’re going to stop doing commercials, Ted” & Ted says “why would I do that Lou?” & Lou says ‘Because if you don’t I’ll punch your face out” & Ted says “I’ll have you arrested” & Lou says “It’ll be too late, your face will be broken, you’re not gonna get too many commercials with a broken face now are you Ted?” & Ted buckles under to force & everybody loves it that Lou’s not despondent anymore he’s back to his brustling chubby loud loveable whiskey-drinking football-loving ways. Now imagine if Ted were Lou, if Ted were the boss. You know how incredibly fucking brainless Ted is, but let’s imagine he understands & is willing to use force. That’s the situation we’re now in as Americans.

U.S. Diplomat John Brady Kiesling: Letter of Resignation
[The following is the text of John Brady Kiesling's letter of resignation to Secretary of State Colin L. Powell. Mr. Kiesling is a career diplomat who has served in United States embassies from Tel Aviv to Casablanca to Yerevan.]
Dear Mr. Secretary:
I am writing you to submit my resignation from the Foreign Service of the United States and from my position as Political Counselor in U.S. Embassy Athens, effective March 7. I do so with a heavy heart. The baggage of my upbringing included a felt obligation to give something back to my country. Service as a U.S. diplomat was a dream job. I was paid to understand foreign languages and cultures, to seek out diplomats, politicians, scholars and journalists, and to persuade them that U.S. interests and theirs fundamentally coincided. My faith in my country and its values was the most powerful weapon in my diplomatic arsenal.

Scott Pound: The Other War That's in the Works
[Scott Pound has been posting to the Buffalo Poetics List a running diary of his time in Turkey which I will start posting here also. If I get inspired I'll go back and pick up some of the prior ones.]
2.27.03, 13:00, Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey
A former student of mine who recently graduated came back to campus to see me the other day. He was making the rounds announcing his impending marriage. Delighted for him, I said, “Congratulations! When?” He looked down at his feet for a few seconds and when he looked back up at me all the happiness had left his face. “I don’t know,” he said. “We will wait.” Standing between him and married life is 8-16 months of compulsory military service, and potentially an extended period of conflict in the region, conflict in which he may be personally involved. He thinks a U.S. invasion of Iraq would just be the beginning. He’s probably right.


A R R A S: new media poetry and poetics

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Note first that favoriteNumbers type changed. Instead of our familiar int, we're now using int*. The asterisk here is an operator, which is often called the "star operator". You will remember that we also use an asterisk as a sign for multiplication. The positioning of the asterisk changes its meaning. This operator effectively means "this is a pointer". Here it says that favoriteNumber will be not an int but a pointer to an int. And instead of simply going on to say what we're putting in that int, we have to take an extra step and create the space, which is what does. This function takes an argument that specifies how much space you need and then returns a pointer to that space. We've passed it the result of another function, , which we pass int, a type. In reality, is a macro, but for now we don't have to care: all we need to know is that it tells us the size of whatever we gave it, in this case an int. So when is done, it gives us an address in the heap where we can put an integer. It is important to remember that the data is stored in the heap, while the address of that data is stored in a pointer on the stack.

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This variable is then used in various lines of code, holding values given it by variable assignments along the way. In the course of its life, a variable can hold any number of variables and be used in any number of different ways. This flexibility is built on the precept we just learned: a variable is really just a block of bits, and those bits can hold whatever data the program needs to remember. They can hold enough data to remember an integer from as low as -2,147,483,647 up to 2,147,483,647 (one less than plus or minus 2^31). They can remember one character of writing. They can keep a decimal number with a huge amount of precision and a giant range. They can hold a time accurate to the second in a range of centuries. A few bits is not to be scoffed at.

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