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The [Tuesday] Papers

The universe is conspiring in all sorts of ways today to keep The Beachwood Media Company from its appointed rounds, so I'll just have to update the site tomorrow. Frickin' universe.

The [Monday] Papers
First, a few thoughts on the Bears' disaster yesterday:

As one commentator said at one point during the game, this year's Broncos in some ways resembles the 2001 Bears, who finished 13-3 by finishing 8-0 in games that were all decided by seven or fewer points, including two in overtime. And by Lovie Smith's 2006 Bears, who also went 13-3.

Those teams relied on great special teams (including great kickers) and tough defense to stay in games they would win by turnovers and every bounce going their way. And with inadequate quarterbacks.

The Broncos are using much the same formula. The importance of their special teams isn't just in the long-range leg of Matt Prater that was on display yesterday, but the punts of Britton Colquitt. While some Bears fans were frustrated by Devin Hester's early fair catches, Hester would have been foolish to try anything else with high, booming kicks that arrived with him standing on his own 10-yard-line. Hester was only able to return two of eight Colquitt punts - including the return that inspired the Bears' only touchdown drive.

The Broncos' defense played with emotion, as if their philosophy was to keep the game close and then hand it over to Tebow in the end. The Bears' defense played tight, as if their philosophy was that it had to win the game all by themselves. By the end of the game, the Bears defense was visibly exhausted.

The Bears' corners also blew at least a couple of assignments big-time in which Bronco receivers were wide, wide open, including the touchdown to Demaryius Thomas. It was, as I tweeted, the Bears in a Cover 0 defense.

Charles Tillman did make an interception whose athleticism was for the ages, but most remarkable about it was that it was such a rare occurence for Tim Tebow. In 20 pro games, Tebow has only thrown four interceptions. Turning the ball over on a punt is miles better than doing so with interceptions. Tebow may not make a lot of completions, but he doesn't make a lot of mistakes, either. He grinds it out; Theo Epstein must love this guy.

Unfortunately, Jerry Angelo is no Theo Epstein. How many seasons now have the Bears been caught without an adequate back-up quarterback? Very few QBs make it through an NFL season unscathed; neither do starting running backs. This Bears regime has always bragged about the bottom half of its roster, but it's the backup tier it never seems to address.

Similarly, lack of talent and depth at the wide receiver and offensive line positions seem as endemic to this team as its opportunistic defense. Mike Martz hasn't helped.

Remember, Tebow started the season as the Broncos' backup QB - just like Caleb Hanie.


For Jim Coffman's take and the best from our Twitter feed: SportsMonday: Tim Tebow Outclasses Bears

The Savage Truth
"Instead of sitting in parks and protesting, instead of lamenting our political choices, instead of waiting for the government to figure it out - let's occupy our country with the generous spirit of giving," Terry Savage writes for the Sun-Times.

Don't just sit in a park and protest, do something! For those of you who have lost your jobs, lost your homes, lost your health insurance, give!

Maybe, just maybe, though, that generosity of spirit should be asked of those responsible for cratering this economy and those benefiting most obscenely by the tax code they have shaped to their personal advantage, not to mention the corporate by-laws and bonuses needed to keep them, ahem, motivated to continue to do a bang-up job.


Occupy Chicago has a home and a fight song.

Classroom War
"No one seriously disputes the fact that students from disadvantaged households perform less well in school, on average, than their peers from more advantaged backgrounds," Helen Ladd and Edward Fiske write in the New York Times. "But rather than confront this fact of life head-on, our policy makers mistakenly continue to reason that, since they cannot change the backgrounds of students, they should focus on things they can control.

[ . . . ]

"The correlation has been abundantly documented, notably by the famous Coleman Report in 1966. New research by Sean F. Reardon of Stanford University traces the achievement gap between children from high- and low-income families over the last 50 years and finds that it now far exceeds the gap between white and black students. Data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress show that more than 40 percent of the variation in average reading scores and 46 percent of the variation in average math scores across states is associated with variation in child poverty rates. International research tells the same story."

We can "reform" our schools until we're blue in the face; in fact, we have. But poverty is almost always the X factor to our most pernicious ills.

Transformation Planning
"Those of us who have watched poor families slipped through the cracks for decades now will not be surprised, but it is still heartbreaking to know widespread and pervasive this is. Someday soon, some 'brilliant' mind in academia or government will 'create' a solution to this problem: a large supply of housing that requires tenants to pay a heavily subsidized rent. But for now: 'A nearly three-year evaluation of Mr. Daley's program by researchers at the University of Chicago and Loyola University tracked more than 500 homeless people for a year and found a fragmented system that inhibited progress.'"

- Ethan Michaeli, publisher of Residents' Journal, via Facebook

Koschman Kharacter Witness
Isn't it a crime to make false statements to police?

Message In A Bottle
"We're always one election away from the next Blagojevich," David Morrison of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform tells AP.

Saved By The Bottle
Scott Fawell suggests Blago fake a drinking problem like he did.

Groupon Mystery

The Weekend in Chicago Rock
Truthfully, it wasn't that great.

Holiday Greetings . . .
. . . from the Chicago-based International Polka Association.

Programming Note
I know what'll cheer you up. Tonight at the Beachwood.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Next.


Posted on December 13, 2011

MUSIC - Madonna vs. Moderna.
TV - Sundays With The Military-Industrial Complex.
POLITICS - Private Equity In The ER.
SPORTS - Suspicious Betting Trends In Soccer.

BOOKS - China Holding Swedish Publisher.


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