Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Metblogs Closing Down May 31

It’s with sadness that I have to tell you that the entire Metblogs network will be closing down on May 31, 2010. (There’s a banner across the top of the page with a link to the official post from Metblogs HQ, but I’ll bet the three of you who are still reading are doing so via RSS subscriptions, so I thought I’d better post something here.)

It’s money, of course, and it’s sad for the grand experiment that was the Metblogs network. The Chicago Metblog has been pretty dormant since last summer, so we’re not really going to be missed all that much, but there are 57 cities in the whole network and many of them are pretty active. Just not, I guess, active enough in a paying-for-the-servers sort of way.

Chicago was the fourth* city in the Metblogs network and over the last (nearly**) 6 years we’ve had 3,457 posts*** and 7,318 comments. Even with our dormancy over the last year, that still puts us at 6th highest post count in the network. A site redesign/database migration a couple of years ago means we lost a bunch of old author names, so I’ll just say we’ve had a couple dozen over the years and they were all great, whether they posted once or 800 times.

You’ve got plenty of choices for local blogging in Chicago these days—Gapers Block, Chicagoist, Windy Citizen, the Chicago Now network… it’ll only be up for a week, so feel free to plug your favorite Chicago blogs in the comments. I’ll see you around the blogosphere.

* San Francisco and Washington, DC beat us by a couple of days.
** First post, June 26, 2004.
*** 3,458 when I hit save on this.

Update: the Metblogs network has been saved.

Brief Updates from MBHQ

You’ve no doubt by now noticed that the sites got a bit of a re-design and some things got changed around last week. We wanted to highlight two changes to make sure everyone knows what changed.

The first and biggest is COMMENTS! Registration is no longer required to post a comment on any post. Of course if you already have an account you can still login to ensure your comments are attributed to you, but those who don’t can now post a comment without any long term commitment. Also, on the right you can see some of the recent comments so you’ll always know what the active discussions are. This was the most requested thing we’ve heard from people since our last redesign and we’re excited to see where it leads.

The next change is also something that was heavily requested, and that is a change to the ADS on the sites. You’ll immediately notice fewer of them, but what might not be as obvious is those smaller square ones to the right are specific to this city only and are being sold for a flat rate for a period of time rather than a confusing CPM/traffic/network model. Depending on the city, these range from $7-$175 for a full week. If you purchase one, during that time your ad will be the only one in that spot and will show on every page. We set these up both to make it easier for smaller local businesses to get their ads on our site, and also to help us bring in ads that relate better to our local audiences. Also, keeping these sites online is expensive and every little bit helps.

There are a bunch of other things we changed but we’ll leave those to you to investigate and take advantage of. Hope you like it, and we look forward to seeing you in the comments!!

The folks at MBHQ

The Death of Print

The Death of Print

The long-standing 24-hour newsstand at the corner of Chicago and Michigan was dismantled this week.

Update: It’s not dead! It’s just a flesh wound! It’ll be rebuilt in the style of the CTA bus stops. (Thanks, OMIC)

Chicago Has Too Many Teachers

The Chicago Tribune is reporting that Chicago has more teachers looking for work then it does teaching positions. Which is frustrating to me because I’m a teacher who is looking for a teaching position (check the resume). But finding out that there is little to no demand for my elementary/middle school teaching skills is only half the frustration.

I worked on the west side for a year and a half before leaving the school. It was too stressful to teach every subject to a room of 33-38 8th grade students. I worked hard and got some great results, but paid for it with my sanity and blood pressure.

This is the other half of my frustration. I’m hearing that there are no teaching jobs available in Chicago, but I substitute teach in classrooms that can have 30+ kids in it. With all these eager, young, qualified teaching candidates wandering about the city, why are classrooms still over crowded? Why not work to drop class size to 20, and/or hire teaching assistants? I know, I know. Money. But can you imagine the future graduates of Chicago public schools if the students were in a classroom where a teacher could spend tons of time and attention on their learning?

So teachers, what are we doing for work these days? Those teach English in [insert foreign country here] ads are looking alluring, and McHammer, and Ed McMahon seem eager to give me cash 4 gold (don’t tell them I have no gold). Anybody want to go in on a teacher squatter commune?

(photo from Dequella Manera)

Chicago Tribune files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

The Trib has been looking a little frayed around the edges lately, what with it’s new layout looking like a desperate attempt to copy the competition (in this blogger’s jaded opinion). I also heard they were trying to sell the Cubs, but my utter hatred of sports makes it impossible for me to finish listening to sentences once I hear words like “field” or “ball”.

But it looks like they’re in worse shape over there than most people realized.

Juicy Fresh Video From Yesterday’s Prop 8 Rally and Parade

Are you like me? You had a ticket to go to Grant Park for Obama’s acceptance speech, and you stayed home to have chicken pot pie with your cranky German grandma instead?*

Well, you could have soaked up some of the residual vibes by joining the thousands of Prop 8 protesters at Federal Plaza yesterday. Spirits were high and soon the exuberance spilled out into the streets of downtown Chicago, where an impromptu parade stopped traffic for as long as 20 minutes at a time.

Joyful protesters were met with open-mouthed Michigan Avenue shoppers, who put down their Macy’s bags long enough to clap and cheer. The police were very relaxed (despite the lack of parade permit) and even stopped cabs and CTA buses full of Chicagoans gave cheerful honks and peace signs.

I was there supporting my gay loved ones and with the help of videographer and interviewer Daisy Mertzel, I put together this four minute video, which fairly captures the spirit of the event.


*Not really.

Barack Around the World

What a night last night! You can see some of my experiences at the Grant Park Rally on flickr here. After you get done checking that out you can then go over to K-Rock’s collage of various front pages from around the world announcing our new president, Barack Obama. Which will have to do ya because all Chicago papers sold out toot sweet, and even extra printings of the Tribune, Sun-Times, and RedEye (really!!??!?) are hard to come by.

I’m an Obama, she’s an Obama, wouldn’t you like to be an Obama too?

In Brazil, political candidates can put any name they want on the ballot as long as it is not offensive. That explains why Obamas were running for various Brazilian offices. According to an Associated Press article titled “No Luck for Obamas in Brazil Elections” there were eight politicians who listed their names as Obama on the ballot, and all of them lost. Other famous (or infamous) names used for political gain on the ballot: Bin Laden, and French soccer player Zinedine Zidane (the headbutt guy from the 2006 World Cup). No one was listed as “John McCain”. I would have been more likely to vote for John McClain.

(photo from Here in Van Nuys)

Amy Goodman from Democracy Now! to speak tonight

If you’ve been keeping up with the conventions, I’m sure you know all about the protests and scary police tactics used against journalists and protesters at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul. Amy Goodman, reporter for Democracy Now!, was one of the more famous journalists arrested last week, partly due to the whole incident being captured on camera and put on youtube:


She gives an entire account of the incident in a press release here.

Anyone who has interest in the freedom of press and/or this election, would do themselves good by heading over to hear Ms. Goodman’s talk at the University of Illinois at Chicago Student Center (828 S. Wolcott Ave). Her talk is entitled “The Politics of Race, Gender, and Economics in the 2008 U.S. Presidential Race”. The talk is free and will go from 5-6:30pm.

"The internet is a series of tubes" guy gets indicted

This is not a Chicago thing, but it is an internet thing (of which we are a part, except for that creepy guy in the back…he needs to leave).

Alaska Senator Ted Stevens has been indicted for failing to report income. All of us on teh internets know and love Senator Stevens for his depiction of the internet back in 2006:

Ten movies streaming across that, that Internet, and what happens to your own personal Internet? I just the other day got… an Internet was sent by my staff at 10 o’clock in the morning on Friday, I got it yesterday [Tuesday]. Why? Because it got tangled up with all these things going on the Internet commercially.

[…] They want to deliver vast amounts of information over the Internet. And again, the Internet is not something that you just dump something on. It’s not a big truck. It’s a series of tubes. And if you don’t understand, those tubes can be filled and if they are filled, when you put your message in, it gets in line and it’s going to be delayed by anyone that puts into that tube enormous amounts of material, enormous amounts of material

We all know that the internet is not a series of tubes, but, rather, a series of funny cat pictures with misspelled text. And the internet might not be a dump truck, but the Steven’s house sure is:

Prosecutors say Mr. Stevens, who referred to his home as “the chalet,” accepted goods and services worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, ranging from an outdoor grill to extensive home remodeling and architectural advice. Not only did Mr. Stevens fail to report the items on his Senate financial disclosure form, as required, but he took active steps to conceal the receipt of the goods and services, the indictment says.

I’m guessing that Senator Stevens then hid the receipts in a series of tubes in his back yard.

ZING! I’ll take my net neutrality with a side of schadenfreude please.

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