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January 21, 2012

Undercover cops fathered children with women they were surveilling, abandoned them when the case was closed

Undercover police had children with activists | UK news | The Guardian
Two undercover police officers secretly fathered children with political campaigners they had been sent to spy on and later disappeared completely from the lives of their offspring, the Guardian can reveal. In both cases, the children have grown up not knowing that their biological fathers – whom they have not seen in decades – were police officers who had adopted fake identities to infiltrate activist groups. Both men have concealed their true identities from the children's mothers for many years. One of the spies was Bob Lambert, who has already admitted that he tricked a second woman into having a long-term relationship with him, as part of an intricate attempt to bolster his credibility as a committed campaigner. The second police spy followed the progress of his child and the child's mother by reading confidential police reports which tracked the mother's political activities and life. The disclosures are likely to intensify the controversy over the long-running police operation to infiltrate and sabotage protest groups. Police chiefs claim that undercover officers are strictly forbidden from having sexual relationships with the activists they are spying on, describing the situations as "grossly unprofessional" and "morally wrong".

There's a new film about the utter collapse of Detroit

I grew up in the literal shadow of Detroit, so you'll forgive me if I find the continuing coverage of the fall of one of America's greatest cities so fascinating. This film is airing at Sundance this week. They are hoping for a distributor. DETROPIA - Online Film Guide | Sundance Institute
Detroit’s story has encapsulated the iconic narrative of America over the last century— the Great Migration of African Americans escaping Jim Crow; the rise of manufacturing and the middle class; the love affair with automobiles; the flowering of the American dream; and now . . . the collapse of the economy and the fading American mythos. With its vivid, painterly palette and haunting score, DETROPIA sculpts a dreamlike collage of a grand city teetering on the brink of dissolution. As houses are demolished by the thousands, automobile-company wages plummet, institutions crumble, and tourists gawk at the “charming decay,” the film’s vibrant, gutsy characters glow and erupt like flames from the ashes. These soulful pragmatists and stalwart philosophers strive to make ends meet and make sense of it all, refusing to abandon hope or resistance. Their grit and pluck embody the spirit of the Motor City as it struggles to survive postindustrial America and begins to envision a radically different future

Stephin Merritt to star in live-action one-day-only video game

I would literally stab you to be able to attend this. Flavorwire -- The Magnetic Fields’ Stephin Merritt to Star in a Live Video Game
We’ve been having warm and fuzzy feelings about Stephin Merritt ever since the Magnetic Fields’ ’90s revival track “Andrew in Drag” hit the internet, but turns out the oddball frontman just as keen on the future as he is on the past. In collaboration with D.I.Y. video arcade collective Babycastles, the Museum of Natural History is presenting Space Cruiser, a 200-person video game starring Merritt, available to play next Thursday only. As The Observer explains, the planetarium at the Rose Center for Earth and Space has been re-imagined as a spaceship, which you will be able to control (with a bunch of other music and video game nerds). Babycastles co-founder Syed Salahuddin elucidated further: “A multi-player control deck at the center of the theater will offer a small crew the chance to navigate the spacecraft together, piloting through treacherous asteroid belts. The crew is an unassigned, free-form team that works together to pilot the spaceship, with various parts of the ship spread out over the theater while being guided by a on-board computer system that is voiced by Stephin Merritt of the Magnetic Fields.” This may be crazy, or this may be totally awesome.