Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Monday, October 03, 2011

Brad Pitt does not play gay Billy Bean in “Moneyball,” he plays straight Billy Beane

By the one and only Billy Bean..e

.

At the time, as I was becoming more and more recognized as a member of the LGBT community, I was sure that Billy was getting the short end of the stick. It was OK for me to be confused with a general manager of a Major League Baseball team, but I wasn’t so sure how he felt about people thinking that he was “the gay baseball player.” He’s a straight Republican, who’s married with kids, and I’m a gay Democrat with two Jack Russell Terriers. To make matters worse for him, my book, “Going the Other Way: Lesson’s From a Life in and out of Major League Baseball” came out in the summer of 2003. It spread through the sports world pretty quickly. It’s the one topic that catches every athlete’s attention, and not always in a good way. However, I have to say that the reaction to my book by players was mostly supportive. I was told that Billy was constantly receiving my cards for him to sign. The LGBT community in San Francisco and Oakland area was hopeful, but ultimately disappointed that I was not him.

...The movie is amazing and you should go see it. One of Hollywood’s greatest writers, Aaron Sorkin wrote it, and I’m sure that Brad Pitt will finally win an Oscar for Best Actor. Not because he’s long overdue for his profession’s crowning achievement, but because it will cement my fate of having to answer this question for the rest of my life and say, no it’s not me….it’s the “other” Billy Bean(e).

Truth is, I don’t really mind the questions at all. I’m happy for Billy Beane, and his movie, but I wouldn’t trade places with him for all the money in Major League Baseball.  My friends, my family, my community. I’m the luckiest guy in the world.

Repoz Posted: October 03, 2011 at 10:23 AM | 151 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: athletics, books, history, media

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

Page 1 of 2 pages  1 2 > 
   1. The Robby Hammock District (Dan Lee) Posted: October 03, 2011 at 11:03 AM (#3949323)
And neither of them would trade places with Bill Bene.
   2. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: October 03, 2011 at 11:11 AM (#3949324)
Billy Bean should never have written that book!

Naw, I kid. Did anyone read it? Any good?
   3. Guapo Posted: October 03, 2011 at 12:14 PM (#3949339)
Wait a minute, Billy Beane is a Republican?! That changes everything!

The A's never win anything! Beane was just lucky in 2002! Moneyball is a sham!
   4. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: October 03, 2011 at 12:23 PM (#3949346)
...not that there's anything wrong with it.

Wait, did Beane vote for Bush in 2004? Oh, it's on.
   5. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: October 03, 2011 at 12:34 PM (#3949349)
His Spurs fandom trumps his political idiocy, of course. Yay Billy Beane!
   6. Comic Strip Person Posted: October 03, 2011 at 01:21 PM (#3949384)
When trying to remember which Billy Bean(e) is which, I tell myself the E is for 'Eterosexual.
   7. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: October 03, 2011 at 01:22 PM (#3949385)
Wait a minute, Billy Beane is a Republican?!


Well, he's a rich guy, ain't he?
   8. asinwreck Posted: October 03, 2011 at 01:27 PM (#3949388)
Not sure why anyone would be surprised that Billy Beane is Republican. (GOP tendencies are hardly unheard of in management or sabermetrics -- Bill James is also a Republican.) My only surprise at Bean's revelation is that Beane remarried.
   9. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 03, 2011 at 01:31 PM (#3949392)
Cheering the thought of letting the uninsured die is the new market inefficiency.
   10. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 03, 2011 at 01:51 PM (#3949404)
I once won $50 off a friend who was convinced the GM Billy Beane was the gay Billy Bean. That is all.
   11. The importance of being Ernest Riles Posted: October 03, 2011 at 01:51 PM (#3949405)
Why is it so shocking that Beane is a republican? Have folks never met smart conservatives, or is the portrayal of conservatives as backwards and dumb just all-pervasive?
   12. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: October 03, 2011 at 02:05 PM (#3949421)
Billy Bean and Billy Beane were briefly teammates for the 1988 Tigers. (Actually, they both played for the '88 Tigers but I'm not sure if they were teammates as they each just had a cup of coffee.)
   13. Bourbon Samurai in Asia Posted: October 03, 2011 at 02:06 PM (#3949423)
BILL JAMES is a republican? Oh, the humanity!!!
   14. Greg K Posted: October 03, 2011 at 02:08 PM (#3949425)
Weird, before today the only thing I knew about Billy Bean was that he had a name similar to Billy Beane. How soon after his career did he come out? Or was it during? I must be really out of the loop if I missed that.
   15. Charles S. will not yield to this monkey court Posted: October 03, 2011 at 02:10 PM (#3949426)
...is the portrayal of conservatives as backwards and dumb just all-pervasive?
I think we've all met smart Republicans. It's just that the ones who go on TV and/or run for office tend to make you forget about the smart ones.
   16. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: October 03, 2011 at 02:14 PM (#3949429)
15 posts and nobody made a joke about:

I was sure that Billy was getting the short end of the stick
   17. Greg K Posted: October 03, 2011 at 02:15 PM (#3949430)
HUGE GENERALIZATION ALERT

I can see a connection between sabermetrics and right-wing politics. The desire to rationally explain events on the baseball field and the libertarian view of the world that is rationally derived from the absolute premise of individual liberty could in some cases have a similar source.

The surprise at Beane being a Republican may come from that his team benefits from the welfare state, or that he led a revolt against conservatism in his field. Or maybe it's that he likes soccer.

On the flip side exploiting market ineffecincies sounds like awfully free-market Republican thing to do.
   18. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 03, 2011 at 02:28 PM (#3949440)
Maybe he just hates abortion or gay marriage?
   19. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: October 03, 2011 at 02:32 PM (#3949442)
The surprise at Beane being a Republican may come from that his team benefits from the welfare state, or that he led a revolt against conservatism in his field. Or maybe it's that he likes soccer.

It may also be that in the world of BBTF, the virulent anti-Billy Beane/Moneyball people tend to be conservatives. It's kind of interesting, I guess.
   20. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 03, 2011 at 02:34 PM (#3949445)

It may also be that in the world of BBTF, the virulent anti-Billy Beane/Moneyball people tend to be conservatives. It's kind of interesting, I guess.


Hah! I continue to defy characterization, and maintaing my uniqueness on BBTF!

BTW, nice job against Cuban. Now I gotta face Gaelan again.
   21. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: October 03, 2011 at 02:34 PM (#3949446)
HUGE GENERALIZATION ALERT: PART II

Politics in baseball are awfully contradictory, anyway. For a game run by rich old white Republicans, they sure act like a bunch of socialists when it suits them.

Likewise, many of my liberal friends who are baseball fans are very quick to ##### about the ridiculous millionaire contracts ballplayers get without giving any consideration to the history of the reserve clause, Curt Flood, and how and why free agency came to be.
   22. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: October 03, 2011 at 02:37 PM (#3949449)
BTW, nice job against Cuban. Now I gotta face Gaelan again.

If it makes you feel better, that was not the plan!
   23. PreservedFish Posted: October 03, 2011 at 02:38 PM (#3949450)
But he's a huge Ramones fan! OK, so Joey Ramone was a Republican. But how many of their fans were?
   24. Lassus Posted: October 03, 2011 at 02:38 PM (#3949451)
Likewise, many of my liberal friends who are baseball fans are very quick to ##### about the ridiculous millionaire contracts ballplayers get

I hear this complaint from liberals about CEOs, but never about baseball players. I personally hear more conservative personalities (literally, not Rush, etc.) get down on baseball for salaries.
   25. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 03, 2011 at 02:41 PM (#3949453)
For a game run by rich old white Republicans, they sure act like a bunch of socialists when it suits them.

Rich businessmen don't like truly free markets. They like rigged markets that favor them, and Hyman Rothesque "partnerships with friendly governments."

Which is why the world doesn't need less capitalism, it needs more.
   26. bunyon Posted: October 03, 2011 at 02:41 PM (#3949454)
For a game run by rich old white Republicans, they sure act like a bunch of socialists when it suits them.

On purely fiscal issues, the reason I'm not a Republican (I'm not a Democrat, either) is that the rich old white Republicans who preach free market concepts sure act like a bunch of socialists when it comes to pulling taxpayer money to their businesses.

It's really not all that shocking: the vast majority of Americans (well, of anyone) wants their goverment to shovel money toward them and have completely rationalized why this shovelling is in the best interests of everyone while, at the same time, desperately not wanting to shovel money anywhere else, again, having rationalized why not doing so is in everyone's best interests.

MLB is simply a microcosm: small market owners demand revenue sharing "in the interest of the game"; large-market owners demand others be locked out of their markets "in the interest of the game".
   27. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 03, 2011 at 02:41 PM (#3949455)

If it makes you feel better, that was not the plan!


Not really, no.

I'm a little worried though. His pitching is goooood.

His lineup is vulnerable to LH's though. Wish I had another good LH RP.
   28. robinred Posted: October 03, 2011 at 02:43 PM (#3949457)
Well, the two guys here who have given Beane the most crap IME are Backlasher, back when he used to post, (not a Conservative) and Joey B.

As noted, politics and pro sports, for obvious reasons, mix in odd ways. Liberals often bash players for making too much money, thereby taking management's side over a union/guild and siding with superrich guys over very rich guys, ignoring that many of the latter group grew up working class and/or in poor countries. Conservatives are often pro-owner in labor disputes, in effect backing socialistic economic reasoning, restriction of employee options, and mandated control of compensation.
   29. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 03, 2011 at 02:43 PM (#3949458)

Politics in baseball are awfully contradictory, anyway. For a game run by rich old white Republicans, they sure act like a bunch of socialists when it suits them.


Everyone is a libertarian until they need something from the government. Old people are Tea Party supporters who want the Medicare and Social Security. Corporations want the government out of their hair until they need a bailout. Heck, its funny to see the Post Office debate - people in rural areas arguing that we need less federal government suddenly protesting the closure of their local post office.
   30. SOLockwood Posted: October 03, 2011 at 03:09 PM (#3949477)
I'm pretty sure Bill James isn't a Republican. To the degree he fits into any pigeonhole, I would put him with someone like Mickey Kaus. Someone who sympathizes with the goals of the ideal moderate-to-liberal Democrat but is uncomfortable with their approach and tactics.
   31. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 03, 2011 at 03:14 PM (#3949482)
I would put him with someone like Mickey Kaus.

Mickey Kaus wrote a book about 20 years ago whose thesis was, rather than take the rich's money from them, take away the privileges money can buy. If the rich want to squander their money on yachts and the like, fine, just don't let them buy their kids' way into college and their kids' way out of military service.

The book had effectively zero influence, but its thesis and prescriptions remain great ideas.
   32. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: October 03, 2011 at 03:19 PM (#3949487)
My crackpot idea has always been to make private schools illegal. I bet the quality of public education would become suddenly very important...(I don't actually advocate doing this.)
   33. Greg K Posted: October 03, 2011 at 03:21 PM (#3949490)
My crackpot idea has always been to make private schools illegal. I bet the quality of public education would become suddenly very important...(I don't actually advocate doing this.)

Or take the English route, and just call private schools "public schools".
   34. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 03, 2011 at 03:24 PM (#3949492)
My crackpot idea has always been to make private schools illegal. I bet the quality of public education would become suddenly very important

The reverse would work much better. Privatize public schools, and give parents a check to purchase education for their kids.

Set the amount equal for all children in the state (you could adjust for cost of living). That way, you wouldn't have rich suburbs spending $25,000 per student, and rural areas $8,000.

If schools had to compete for students, or the administrators and teachers would lose their jobs, they'd get better in a hurry.
   35. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: October 03, 2011 at 03:26 PM (#3949495)
The reverse would work much better. Privatize public schools, and give parents a check to purchase education for their kids.

Set the amount equal for all children in the state (you could adjust for cost of living). That way, you wouldn't have rich suburbs spending $25,000 per student, and rural areas $8,000.


That would be interesting, too. The key for me is equality of opportunity for the kids.
   36. robinred Posted: October 03, 2011 at 03:29 PM (#3949496)
Thanks for bringing up education, Shooty. Always a thrill here at BTF.
   37. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 03, 2011 at 03:29 PM (#3949497)
The reverse would work much better. Privatize public schools, and give parents a check to purchase education for their kids.

Set the amount equal for all children in the state (you could adjust for cost of living). That way, you wouldn't have rich suburbs spending $25,000 per student, and rural areas $8,000.

If schools had to compete for students, or the administrators and teachers would lose their jobs, they'd get better in a hurry.


I've been through the Manhattan private school process; a lot/most of those schools are jokes. No report cards until 8th grade, no expectations, no distinctions among the best and the mediocre, basically a bunch of softies sitting around telling each other how great they are. The deal is simple: you pay us a bunch of money, we'll stamp your ticket with our name, enhancing your "brand."

Essentially everything people think goes on in public schools really does go on in elite private schools.
   38. PreservedFish Posted: October 03, 2011 at 03:36 PM (#3949503)
If schools had to compete for students, or the administrators and teachers would lose their jobs, they'd get better in a hurry.


I see that the idea is to let loose the competitive instincts of administrators, and reap the benefits, but I don't know if it would actually work that way. If your school has 1,000 kids, and you get the same amount of funding whether you have the gifted kids or the crappy ones, you might have created a situation where the administrators actually have less incentive to care about their product than they do today.

How does School A (operating budget $5,000,000) distinguish itself from School B (operating budget $5,000,000)? It can't spend more money.

Also, this would have an unlimited number of unpredictable unintended consequences. (So would Shooty's idea, I think).
   39. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: October 03, 2011 at 03:38 PM (#3949505)
Thanks for bringing up education, Shooty. Always a thrill here at BTF.

I tend to be pragmatic about it. I think the system is broken for the poor and am open to different ways of fixing it. I'm also sympathetic to teachers and pro-labor. I don't think they are very many teachers who don't want to do a better job, despite the rhetoric of anti-union people. I'm probably going to bow out of this thread now and I apologize if I've kick-started a 1000 post throw down.
   40. robinred Posted: October 03, 2011 at 03:39 PM (#3949506)
I'm probably going to bow out of this thread now and I apologize if I've kick-started a 1000 post throw down.

No need for that at all. If I don't like it, I am free to bail.
   41. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 03, 2011 at 03:41 PM (#3949509)
One way to improve the schools would be for Republican adults to stop acting as if their stupidity and failure to learn, and concomitant mocking of the non-stupid, is emblematic of nobility and virtue.
   42. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: October 03, 2011 at 03:44 PM (#3949511)
Billy Bean and Billy Beane were briefly teammates for the 1988 Tigers. (Actually, they both played for the '88 Tigers but I'm not sure if they were teammates as they each just had a cup of coffee.)


FWIW, Beane played in Detroit in April, while Bean came up when the rosters expanded in September. But they both played over a hundred games in Toledo.

No "e" Bean was one of the trinity of young players (along with Scott Lusader and Jim Walewander) from that era that Sparky praised far beyond any rational assessment of his abilities.
   43. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 03, 2011 at 03:47 PM (#3949516)
I tend to be pragmatic about it. I think the system is broken for the poor and am open to different ways of fixing it.

That would be interesting, too. The key for me is equality of opportunity for the kids.

I agree with both of these points. Public schooling has miserably failed the poor in this country. Yet private and religious schools operating with the same population, on shoe-string budgets, succeed.

How does School A (operating budget $5,000,000) distinguish itself from School B (operating budget $5,000,000)? It can't spend more money.

Curriculum? Extra tutoring? Focus on specific subjects? Vocational education?

I'm not sure, that's why you want to let the market loose. All I know is inner city Catholic schools in NYC outperform the public schools with 25% of the per pupil spending.

The idea that we can't do better is silly.
   44. The Long Arm of Rudy Law Posted: October 03, 2011 at 03:47 PM (#3949517)
No "e" Bean was one of the trinity of young players (along with Scott Lusader and Jim Walewander) from that era that Sparky praised far beyond any rational assessment of his abilities.


It was more than a trinity, unless Torey Lovullo and Chris Pittaro are from different eras.
   45. Lassus Posted: October 03, 2011 at 03:48 PM (#3949519)
I dunno, Shooty, that's an awful big can of worms to open up and then let everyone else eat.
   46. Charles S. will not yield to this monkey court Posted: October 03, 2011 at 03:52 PM (#3949522)
All I know is inner city Catholic schools in NYC outperform the public schools with 25% of the per pupil spending.
Doesn't that have as much to do with the Catholic schools having the built-in advantages of involved parents and the ability to boot out any kid that doesn't measure up? I've always seen vouchers as a way for good schools to choose their students rather than a way for students to choose good schools.

I know this argument has been made a million times, but when one side of the voucher debate comes up, the other side (me) responds reflexively.
   47. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 03, 2011 at 03:54 PM (#3949526)
I agree with both of these points. Public schooling has miserably failed the poor in this country. Yet private and religious schools operating with the same population, on shoe-string budgets, succeed.

That's biased though. In practically every area of the country, merely attending private or religious school is a sign of motivated and engaged parents, with sufficient time to sift through alternatives and the ability to sift effectively. Kids of those parents will generally do better in school.
   48. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 03, 2011 at 03:56 PM (#3949528)

It was more than a trinity, unless Torey Lovullo and Chris Pittaro are from different eras.


Yea, I remember Lovullo being the next big thing. Also, Walt Terrell was supposed to win 20 games.
   49. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 03, 2011 at 03:56 PM (#3949529)
Doesn't that have as much to do with the Catholic schools having the built-in advantages of involved parents and the ability to boot out any kid that doesn't measure up? I've always seen vouchers as a way for good schools to choose their students rather than a way for students to choose good schools.

I know this argument has been made a million times, but when one side of the voucher debate comes up, the other side (me) responds reflexively.


Sure, but you act like thats a flaw, rather than a feature.

A voucher program would allow parents to get their kids out of disfunctional schools into ones that maintain order. Why should the 80% of students who want to learn be dragged down by the incorrigibles?

The ianbility of Public Schools to permanently expel anyone until they're 18 or 19 is a major problem.
   50. Charles S. will not yield to this monkey court Posted: October 03, 2011 at 04:08 PM (#3949539)
A voucher program would allow parents to get their kids out of disfunctional schools into ones that maintain order. Why should the 80% of students who want to learn be dragged down by the incorrigibles?
If I believed it worked that way, I would support vouchers. More likely, it would allow parents to try to get their kids into better schools. For the ones that succeed, that would be great, but for the ones that fail (for reasons of numbers, lack of connections, paperwork foulups, whatever), their kids would be stuck in the rapidly decaying neighborhood school with even less motivation from administrators and politicians to improve it.

One might say "Well, those kids/parents should have made more of an effort to get into a better school." Maybe, but that platitude doesn't help the kids left behind.
   51. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 03, 2011 at 04:15 PM (#3949543)
If I believed it worked that way, I would support vouchers. More likely, it would allow parents to try to get their kids into better schools. For the ones that succeed, that would be great, but for the ones that fail (for reasons of numbers, lack of connections, paperwork foulups, whatever), their kids would be stuck in the rapidly decaying neighborhood school with even less motivation from administrators and politicians to improve it.

One might say "Well, those kids/parents should have made more of an effort to get into a better school." Maybe, but that platitude doesn't help the kids left behind.


In my design, there is no more "neighborhood school" that relies on politicians. I'm limiting the gov't role to setting the financing level.

I'm confident that if states set the funding levels even at 2/3 of what they currently spend per student in inner cities, there will be enough school seats for every kid.
   52. Lassus Posted: October 03, 2011 at 04:15 PM (#3949544)
One might say "Well, those kids/parents should have made more of an effort to get into a better school." Maybe, but that platitude doesn't help the kids left behind.

Why do you hate America?

OK, that's cheap, but all we have otherwise is snapper's confidence. I do not have the same confidence.
   53. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 03, 2011 at 04:21 PM (#3949550)
OK, that's cheap, but all we have otherwise is snapper's confidence. I do not have the same confidence.

I don't think you could do much worse than the combination of high spending and horrible results you see in poor areas now.
   54. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 03, 2011 at 04:26 PM (#3949555)
In my design, there is no more "neighborhood school" that relies on politicians. I'm limiting the gov't role to setting the financing level.

What about the curriculum? You're not going to put kids -- and the country -- at the mercies of schools that teach that humans first walked the earth 6,000 years ago, that FDR was a Communist, and that science is a secular humanist fraud, are you?
   55. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 03, 2011 at 04:29 PM (#3949557)

A voucher program would allow parents to get their kids out of disfunctional schools into ones that maintain order. Why should the 80% of students who want to learn be dragged down by the incorrigibles?


Exactly right. Our current motto is "no child left behind" when maybe instead it should be "let's do what we can to let the kids that want to flourish the resources they need to excel and offer good vo-tech opportunities for the rest."

I'm pretty liberal, and while I think teacher's unions get unfairly maligned, I fully support school choice. Our current system condemns poor urban kids to terrible schools simply because of where they live. Are all charter schools great or even good? No. But almost every urban school district is terrible. Let's at least give the kids that want to do well the opportunity to do so.

There are lots of concerns such as the curriculum as SBB raises, as well as what about special ed kids, but I think a lot of that can be regulated - require any school that accepts federal voucher money to meet certain requirements.

And the ancillary effect is that urban areas no longer become completely verboten for families that are inclined to live in an urban environment but can't afford private school, thus raising property values and tax coffers for our cities.
   56. los athleticos Posted: October 03, 2011 at 04:46 PM (#3949570)
I've read Billy Bean's book and would recommend it to anyone interested in the perspective of a gay ballplayer struggling to live a more authentic life in an unfriendly environment. Not surprisingly, Tommy Lasorda comes across as probably the most bigoted man that he comes across in MLB. He essentially shuns his son when Tommy Jr. is dying of AIDS. Other teammates, such as Brad Ausmus, are very accepting.
   57. JRVJ Posted: October 03, 2011 at 04:54 PM (#3949573)
It's not the tightest article he's written, but Michael Lewis wrote a great article 2 + months ago in Vanity Fair about California and why it's failing, due to the excesses of the Right and the Left.

I particularly liked this quote (beginning of page 6):

I notice on his shelf a copy of Fortune magazine, with Meredith Whitney on the cover. And as he talked about the bankrupting of Vallejo, I realized that I had heard this story before, or a private-sector version of it. The people who had power in the society, and were charged with saving it from itself, had instead bled the society to death. The problem with police officers and firefighters isn’t a public-sector problem; it isn’t a problem with government; it’s a problem with the entire society. It’s what happened on Wall Street in the run-up to the subprime crisis. It’s a problem of people taking what they can, just because they can, without regard to the larger social consequences. It’s not just a coincidence that the debts of cities and states spun out of control at the same time as the debts of individual Americans. Alone in a dark room with a pile of money, Americans knew exactly what they wanted to do, from the top of the society to the bottom. They’d been conditioned to grab as much as they could, without thinking about the long-term consequences. Afterward, the people on Wall Street would privately bemoan the low morals of the American people who walked away from their subprime loans, and the American people would express outrage at the Wall Street people who paid themselves a fortune to design the bad loans


What I find devastating about this quote, especially from somebody like Lewis, who has looked at this in detail, is that unless Americans accept that no one side is immune from this rot, it can't really be fixed.

Another great two quotes (both from page 3):

In November 2005 he (ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER) called a special election that sought votes on four reforms: limiting state spending, putting an end to the gerrymandering of legislative districts, limiting public-employee-union spending on elections, and lengthening the time it took for public-school teachers to get tenure. All four propositions addressed, directly or indirectly, the state’s large and growing financial mess. All four were defeated; the votes weren’t even close. From then until the end of his time in office he was effectively gelded: the legislators now knew that the people who had elected them to behave exactly the way they were already behaving were not going to undermine them when appealed to directly. The people of California might be irresponsible, but at least they were consistent.
....

But when you look below the surface, he adds, the system is actually very good at giving Californians what they want. “What all the polls show,” says Paul (MARK PAUL, A JOURNALIST AND NON-PARTISAN THINK-THANKER WHO CO-AUTHORED A BOOK NAMED "CALIFORNIA CRACKUP"), “is that people want services and not to pay for them. And that’s exactly what they have now got.” As much as they claimed to despise their government, the citizens of California shared its defining trait: a need for debt. The average Californian, in 2011, had debts of $78,000 against an income of $43,000. The behavior was unsustainable, but, in its way, for the people, it works brilliantly. For their leaders, even in the short term, it works less well. They ride into office on great false hopes and quickly discover they can do nothing to justify those hopes
   58. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 03, 2011 at 04:59 PM (#3949576)
“What all the polls show,” says Paul (MARK PAUL, A JOURNALIST AND NON-PARTISAN THINK-THANKER WHO CO-AUTHORED A BOOK NAMED "CALIFORNIA CRACKUP"), “is that people want services and not to pay for them. And that’s exactly what they have now got.” As much as they claimed to despise their government, the citizens of California shared its defining trait: a need for debt.

Of course that's what they want; who wouldn't?

The left has conditioned the people to expect an all-powerful government capable of anything; the right has conditioned them to blame government for everything. So what we've got is a populace that expects way too much from government, and then b!tches like whiny b!tches when government -- inevitably -- fails to deliver.
   59. JRVJ Posted: October 03, 2011 at 05:06 PM (#3949582)
Right, but the conclusion to that is not necessarily that Government is evil, because there are some things that do need to be provided by Government.

The question is how to strike a balance between too much government and too little government, while also not fallling into the fallacy of the free market solving everything (it can't).
   60. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: October 03, 2011 at 05:23 PM (#3949603)
I can see a connection between sabermetrics and right-wing politics. The desire to rationally explain events on the baseball field and the libertarian view of the world that is rationally derived from the absolute premise of individual liberty could in some cases have a similar source.


The aide said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." ... "That's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do." -Karl Rove, quoted anonymously by Ron Suskind
   61. Greg K Posted: October 03, 2011 at 05:34 PM (#3949613)
The left has conditioned the people to expect an all-powerful government capable of anything; the right has conditioned them to blame government for everything.

These noted right-wingers agree.
   62. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 03, 2011 at 05:43 PM (#3949621)
What about the curriculum? You're not going to put kids -- and the country -- at the mercies of schools that teach that humans first walked the earth 6,000 years ago, that FDR was a Communist, and that science is a secular humanist fraud, are you?

I'd let the parents decide.

Even kids that believed all that, but know how to read and write, do math, etc. at a HS level, would have a much better shot in this world than the products of most of our inner-city schools.

Hell, most of our current HS students don't know who FDR was. Believing he was a communist would at least require them to know something about him.
   63. Forsch 10 From Navarone (Dayn) Posted: October 03, 2011 at 05:49 PM (#3949630)
My opinions on this issue are objectively correct. Idiots, the lot of you.
   64. villageidiom Posted: October 03, 2011 at 05:56 PM (#3949639)
“What all the polls show,” says Paul (MARK PAUL, A JOURNALIST AND NON-PARTISAN THINK-THANKER WHO CO-AUTHORED A BOOK NAMED "CALIFORNIA CRACKUP"), “is that people want services and not to pay for them. And that’s exactly what they have now got.”
To tie the thread neatly in a bow...

If you don't eat your meat, you can't have any pudding! How can you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat?!
   65. Gotham Dave Posted: October 03, 2011 at 05:57 PM (#3949640)
I'd let the parents decide.

Even kids that believed all that, but know how to read and write, do math, etc. at a HS level, would have a much better shot in this world than the products of most of our inner-city schools.
OK, but what kind of shot would the world have with that kind of ignorance even more rampant than it is today?

EDIT: Of course there is plenty of ignorance resulting from the current system, but I guess you could distinguish this as "proactive" ignorance, which is to say an explicit belief in things that are simply not true.
   66. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 03, 2011 at 05:59 PM (#3949642)
OK, but what kind of shot would the world have with that kind of ignorance even more rampant than it is today?

I obviously don't believe most parents will choose schools that teach wack-job ideologies.

You don't think the media would feast on uncovering schools with bizarre curricula?
   67. Esoteric Posted: October 03, 2011 at 05:59 PM (#3949644)
The aide said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." ... "That's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do." -Karl Rove, quoted anonymously by Ron Suskind
You do realize that a lot of journalists quietly believe that Ron Suskind fabricated that quote, right? In any event, it most certainly did not come from Karl Rove. You're just making that up out of whole cloth.
   68. Gotham Dave Posted: October 03, 2011 at 06:00 PM (#3949645)
Snapper, if you don't think that 20-30% of parents in this country would pick a red-baiting, evolution/global warming-denying, islamophobic school for their kids, you haven't been paying attention.

The media would do what it always does, which is equivocate and say there's two sides to the story.
   69. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 03, 2011 at 06:00 PM (#3949646)
OK, but what kind of shot would the world have with that kind of ignorance even more rampant than it is today?


Don't you think the parents that would want to send their kids to a school that taught the world is only 6000 years old are probably already teaching their kids that on Sundays?
   70. Gotham Dave Posted: October 03, 2011 at 06:02 PM (#3949649)
Would you find retaining the governmental ability to set educational standards and certify schools, while it abstains from actually running them, to be an acceptable compromise? Because I think that would be much better than anything-goes.
   71. Gotham Dave Posted: October 03, 2011 at 06:02 PM (#3949650)
69 - Yeah, but at least they go to school and learn actual science to weigh against it.
   72. willcarrolldoesnotsuk Posted: October 03, 2011 at 06:03 PM (#3949651)
I genuinely thought that Billy Beane (the GM) was an out-of-the-closet gay man.

Now that I find that he's actually a Republican who claims to be straight, I genuinely think that he's an in-the-closet gay man.
   73. Lassus Posted: October 03, 2011 at 06:14 PM (#3949655)
You do realize that a lot of journalists quietly believe that Ron Suskind fabricated that quote, right? In any event, it most certainly did not come from Karl Rove. You're just making that up out of whole cloth.

Thinking someone is lying doesn't make it indisputable that they are lying. Maybe he was, it obviously can't be proven.

Once you grant the "in any event", how would you know "most certainly" that it didn't or didn't come from Rove, exactly?

EDIT: Citing it as Rove is certainly questionable.
   74. zenbitz Posted: October 03, 2011 at 06:16 PM (#3949658)
The reason education should be public and not private is because it is the social duty of everyone to educate everyone ELSES children. No matter how f'd up their parents are, where they live, how much money they have.

But - and this is just as true of well-off suburban repubicans and hippie liberal socialists (i.e, many of the white parents at my son's public school in SF) - when push comes to shove, people will always favor their own children over others.

I actually sometimes think PRIVATE schools should be banned - and if you don't like your kids' school options you need to get involved personally and fix the damn school. Note that this does happen a lot here in San Francisco, where we have many economically mixed public schools and the wealthier parents shoulder much of the load / funding gaps. However, there is a big free rider effect, so that the schools with wealthy, involved parents get over-enrolled, and you still get a balkanization across districts.

Probably a biological drive - but that is (IMHO) one of the reasons why we have laws and regulations - to curb biological drives that might be harmful to society or individuals as a whole.

Which again goes back to Lewis' (very telling) quotes and why many people feel that unfettered capitalism would a social disaster.
   75. Squash Posted: October 03, 2011 at 06:23 PM (#3949663)
A fully-funded voucher program (government pays for 100% of a child's education, regardless of where they choose to go, and/or every school's tuition is set at the same level) would be an interesting experiment, if for no other reason than to see if the competition theory works. The problem with the voucher systems that have already been tried is that they've only been partially funded, so poor families just end up sending their kids right back to the same schools they would otherwise and wealthier families continue to send their kids to private schools at a handy government-funded discount of $5,000 or whatever. But that's what they were intended to do - many of the voucher programs run so far certainly weren't intended to improve schools.

I remain wary - privatization has certainly been a mixed bag in America, there's little evidence that privatized systems in general are any more efficient/have less corruption/show better results than public systems (the private school system is NOT a good example, as it's a heavily cherry-picked population), and in the end it's not really about who goes to which school as it is a question of what people/the government prioritizes. Despite a few loud voices, we just don't really care (yet) that our K-12 schools are terrible. We've decided we have higher priorities.
   76. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 03, 2011 at 06:28 PM (#3949669)

The reason education should be public and not private is because it is the social duty of everyone to educate everyone ELSES children. No matter how f'd up their parents are, where they live, how much money they have.


Well I agree that we have a responsibility to educate everyone's kids. I just don't see why the school down the street should be the only free option, particularly when it sucks.


I actually sometimes think PRIVATE schools should be banned - and if you don't like your kids' school options you need to get involved personally and fix the damn school.


And this would just lead to even further suburban sprawl and greater de facto segregation as white suburban families move further away. The problem now isn't private schools. The problem is a tremendous disparity in public schools between rich districts and poor districts (and actually recent studies have shown our affluent districts don't even test well compared to other nations, so maybe those public schools aren't so hot either?).

I think its ridiculous our education is tied to where we live.
   77. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: October 03, 2011 at 06:35 PM (#3949674)
Despite a few loud voices, we just don't really care (yet) that our K-12 schools are terrible. We've decided we have higher priorities.

This led to me spending a few minutes searching Youtube for the Wire clip in which Carcetti's chief of staff says, "Kids don't vote." Sadly, I was unable to find it.

But... yeah. Kids don't vote.
   78. Squash Posted: October 03, 2011 at 06:41 PM (#3949678)
The reason education should be public and not private is because it is the social duty of everyone to educate everyone ELSES children. No matter how f'd up their parents are, where they live, how much money they have.

This I agree with. The problem with the it-should-be-left-up-to-the-parents thing is that in the case of education (and most other things that determine the kid's future), the kid's rights are much, much more important than the parent's. The kid is the one that has to go out in the world and make it (or not) with whatever tools or stamps of approval they're given as a young person, and live in the world with all the rest of humanity. Fetishizing the parent's rights to disregard their children's education, or create little carbon copies of themselves, or whatever, at the expense of the kid whose life it is after all, is the absolute wrong way to go in my opinion.
   79. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: October 03, 2011 at 06:44 PM (#3949680)
Instead of having municipalities fund public enducation through property taxes, why not have all tax money levied for education funding go to the state into a big pot that would then be distributed equally to all school districts? There would still be disparities between states but it wouldn't be nearly as bad as the inter-municipal differences we see now, right?
   80. Squash Posted: October 03, 2011 at 06:50 PM (#3949685)
I think its ridiculous our education is tied to where we live.

Well the reason is geographical. For obvious reasons, we don't want 8-year-olds to have a full scale commute to school. The best solution isn't to give them the option to travel an hour back and forth every day to go to the good school, which most of them won't do regardless, it's to fix the school down the street.
   81. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: October 03, 2011 at 06:56 PM (#3949689)
You do realize that a lot of journalists quietly believe that Ron Suskind fabricated that quote, right?


To say "a lot" is to grossly overstate the number of such, and the case that's been made in favor of that position is hardly persuasive.

In any event, it most certainly did not come from Karl Rove. You're just making that up out of whole cloth.


It's widely attributed to Rove - many publications report him as the anonymous source in question. For examples, see here, here, here, here, here, etc.
   82. villageidiom Posted: October 03, 2011 at 06:57 PM (#3949690)
Don't you think the parents that would want to send their kids to a school that taught the world is only 6000 years old are probably already teaching their kids that on Sundays?
The majority of private school students in America are in Catholic schools (43%) or non-sectarian schools (14%), neither of which teaches that.
   83. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 03, 2011 at 06:59 PM (#3949692)
Instead of having municipalities fund public enducation through property taxes, why not have all tax money levied for education funding go to the state into a big pot that would then be distributed equally to all school districts? There would still be disparities between states but it wouldn't be nearly as bad as the inter-municipal differences we see now, right?

That's what my plan envisions. Agree 100% No reason for Scarsdale to spend $25,000 per student and some upstate rural area $6,000.

Would you find retaining the governmental ability to set educational standards and certify schools, while it abstains from actually running them, to be an acceptable compromise? Because I think that would be much better than anything-goes.

Yes, as long as the certification is reasonable, and not a back door way to reinstate bureaucratic and teachers' union control.
   84. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 03, 2011 at 07:02 PM (#3949697)
I think its ridiculous our education is tied to where we live.

Would you cross state lines with your proposal? Would Kansas City, Kansas kids have the right to go to the best school they can find across the border in Missouri?

If you'd allow that, you might as well make the feds responsible for it all and you can go to school anywhere in the United States. If it's not federalized, you'll start hearing crap states complaining about "brain drain" and good states b!tching about educating the kids of other states.

Not saying that's necessarily good or bad.
   85. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 03, 2011 at 07:09 PM (#3949701)
Yes, as long as the certification is reasonable, and not a back door way to reinstate bureaucratic and teachers' union control.

What does this mean?

The primary goal of our education system should be for kids to grow up to be smarter and more rational than their idiotic parents, and to transcend the silly superstitions to which so many of their parents cling.

The parents of this nation aren't remotely qualified to develop curriculums for their childrens' study. It's incomprehensible that you'd think they are.
   86. Athletic Supporter can feel the slow rot Posted: October 03, 2011 at 07:09 PM (#3949702)
“Going the Other Way: Lesson’s From a Life in and out of Major League Baseball” came out in the summer of 2003.


Michael Lewin never should have written that book.
   87. PreservedFish Posted: October 03, 2011 at 07:11 PM (#3949704)
Let's take this discussion from another politics thread and into the real world.

I live in Oakland, CA, in a semi-sketchy semi-nice neighborhood. The local public schools have zero white children. I live a few blocks from the border of Piedmont, which has a good public school, and the price of a home accordingly shoots up a couple hundred thousand bucks immediately across this border, and directly into the "we cannot afford it" zone. I just moved from a really nice neighborhood in San Francisco, where we could not afford a home, but even this place, which was full of Pregnancy Pilates studios and gourmet cheese stores, had virtually zero white children in the local public schools, and most residents there were ready to move down to Palo Alto near their high paying tech jobs when their kids got older.

So as it is, we kind of figure that we're going to have to move to Iowa or northern Vermont in a few years, when our yet unborn child hits the schooling years. I realize that I'll be personally contributing to some of the nationwide problems discussed in this thread, but I'm not seeing what other options I have.
   88. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 03, 2011 at 07:17 PM (#3949710)
What does this mean?

The primary goal of our education system should be for kids to grow up to be smarter and more rational than their idiotic parents, and to transcend the silly superstitions to which so many of their parents cling.

The parents of this nation aren't remotely qualified to develop curriculums for their childrens' study. It's incomprehensible that you'd think they are.


It means I don't want the certification process dictating a curriculum, or mandating only UFT or NEA teachers.

Who's talking about parents developing curriculum? The principals and teachers would.
   89. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 03, 2011 at 07:19 PM (#3949713)
So you open the system up, let everyone go where they want, everyone picks Piedmont ... but there's only so many spots given the physical plant and teacher talent and the educational imperative not to let classes get too big.

Next is a lottery to ration the spots, and some kids lose. What happens to them?

And by the way, this scene plays out intra-district in major cities all over the country. NYC residents can get themselves in a lottery for virtually any district in the city. (**)

(**) And once you're in a public school, you can move out of the district and your kids can still go to the school.
   90. Dan The Mediocre Posted: October 03, 2011 at 07:21 PM (#3949715)
Who's talking about parents developing curriculum? The principals and teachers would.


Who chooses the principals and teachers?
   91. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 03, 2011 at 07:24 PM (#3949717)
It means I don't want the certification process dictating a curriculum

What does "dictating a curriculum" mean? Everyone pretty much knows what kids should be taught -- math, mainstream science, great books, English composition, etc. It really isn't a mystery, and there's no serious doubt. I suppose things get a little tricky with human sexuality and its interaction with science/health but that's less than 1% of any serious system of study.

It sounds like you want to reserve the right for schools to teach kids, at the very least, political ideology -- if not outright bvllshit.
   92. Lassus Posted: October 03, 2011 at 07:24 PM (#3949718)
I just moved from a really nice neighborhood in San Francisco, where we could not afford a home, but even this place, which was full of Pregnancy Pilates studios and gourmet cheese stores, had virtually zero white children in the local public schools, and most residents there were ready to move down to Palo Alto near their high paying tech jobs when their kids got older.

I think the more important question is if you are going to name your unborn son Preserved Fish.

More seriously, I haven't heard what the schools are like in this neighborhood, just that they are full of non-white kids.
   93. zenbitz Posted: October 03, 2011 at 07:26 PM (#3949720)
@76 it goes without saying that the money/effort should NOT be distributed by locale. I didn't state it explicitly, I thought it was obvious. In fact unlike @79 I think it has to be distributed UNEVENLY.

"Problem" kids - and we know what that means in a dog-whistle sense - need more money, not less. And by money I mean essentially merit-based teacher salaries and smaller class sizes. If you want to work the free market into the system, make sure that the teachers with the toughest (most important!) jobs at the roughest schools are the best paid.

Not sure about state lines. I mean, why stop there? Shouldn't we - as people - want to educate the poor and downtrodden of Mexico (and Canada, eh) as well.
   94. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: October 03, 2011 at 07:27 PM (#3949721)
So as it is, we kind of figure that we're going to have to move to Iowa or northern Vermont in a few years...


Pittsburgh is nice, and the housing is very affordable. You can get a three-bedroom place in good repair in a top school district for less than $200k.

Keep it in mind, anyway.
   95. Deacon Blues Posted: October 03, 2011 at 07:27 PM (#3949723)
I've been through the Manhattan private school process; a lot/most of those schools are jokes. No report cards until 8th grade, no expectations, no distinctions among the best and the mediocre, basically a bunch of softies sitting around telling each other how great they are. The deal is simple: you pay us a bunch of money, we'll stamp your ticket with our name, enhancing your "brand."

FWIW, I went to one of those schools, as did three of my siblings. That characterization could not be less consistent with what we experienced.
   96. Athletic Supporter can feel the slow rot Posted: October 03, 2011 at 07:29 PM (#3949724)
Just to put an anecdote on the other side from 95: I went to one of these schools too, K-8. That characterization could not be more consistent with what I experienced. It was an ostensible school for the gifted; the scholarship kids were there to boost up the academic achievements/reputation so the school could sell itself to rich people. It was actually a really well thought-out, good system.
   97. Greg K Posted: October 03, 2011 at 07:31 PM (#3949729)
Not sure about state lines. I mean, why stop there? Shouldn't we - as people - want to educate the poor and downtrodden of Mexico (and Canada, eh) as well.

Our system is by no means perfect, but if these threads on the dire crisis facing the American education system are any indication I'd say thanks but no thanks.
   98. zenbitz Posted: October 03, 2011 at 07:32 PM (#3949730)
SBB (@89) hits on an important nuance. It's imperative that this doesn't happen. You cannot just reward the successful schools, unless you simulatanously make them (physically!) bigger.

Although perhaps class size is the answer there... as the school gets better, it gets more popular, so the class sizes get bigger, the teachers get overworked, and decided to move to the school with smaller class sizes and worse kids for more pay.
   99. Lassus Posted: October 03, 2011 at 07:33 PM (#3949731)
RE: #95, #96, SBB - Anecdotes are not data, dog bites man, Lasorda dumber than ten of those dogs, sun rises in east, water wet, etc.
   100. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 03, 2011 at 07:35 PM (#3949733)
So as it is, we kind of figure that we're going to have to move to Iowa or northern Vermont in a few years, when our yet unborn child hits the schooling years. I realize that I'll be personally contributing to some of the nationwide problems discussed in this thread, but I'm not seeing what other options I have.

In an urban area? Catholic school. That's about it.
Page 1 of 2 pages  1 2 > 

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
Randy Jones
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogTigers' Miguel Cabrera appears to re-injure ankle, leaves game
(10 - 3:48am, Sep 01)
Last: Cooper Nielson

NewsblogBackman named PCL’s top manager
(12 - 2:57am, Sep 01)
Last: ReggieThomasLives

NewsblogBob Melvin calls Athletics 'pathetic' after Angels sweep four-game set
(1 - 2:09am, Sep 01)
Last: Walks Clog Up the Bases

NewsblogOT: NBC.news: Valve isn’t making one gaming console, but multiple ‘Steam machines’
(779 - 2:09am, Sep 01)
Last: DJS and the Infinite Sadness

NewsblogJesus Montero gets heckled by Mariners cross checker during rehab stint
(58 - 2:00am, Sep 01)
Last: Weratych

NewsblogAthletics Acquire Adam Dunn
(22 - 1:37am, Sep 01)
Last: 6 - 4 - 3

NewsblogOMNICHATTER 9-1-2014
(1 - 1:13am, Sep 01)
Last: Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq.

NewsblogOT August 2014:  Wrassle Mania I
(90 - 12:53am, Sep 01)
Last: andrewberg

NewsblogOT: Politics, August 2014: DNC criticizes Christie’s economic record with baseball video
(6296 - 12:32am, Sep 01)
Last: David Nieporent (now, with children)

NewsblogOMNICHATTER 8-31-2014
(100 - 12:29am, Sep 01)
Last: Jose Can Still Seabiscuit

NewsblogHigh School Baseball Game In Japan Takes 50 Innings, Four Days
(6 - 11:46pm, Aug 31)
Last: Gamingboy

NewsblogBlue Jays Acquire Mayberry Jr.
(2 - 11:41pm, Aug 31)
Last: John Northey

NewsblogPhoto of the day: Bill Murray, indy league ticket-taker
(42 - 11:33pm, Aug 31)
Last: Robert in Manhattan Beach

NewsblogSherman: How Reds react to second-half swoon will be major factor in offseason
(5 - 9:46pm, Aug 31)
Last: Select Storage Device

NewsblogOrioles Acquire Kelly Johnson
(20 - 9:44pm, Aug 31)
Last: Mike Emeigh

Page rendered in 1.0376 seconds
52 querie(s) executed