While reading Jim's post on Adam Shepard (who seems like a bit of a punk, but what a great idea for a book), I thought, "Could this have something to do with our role models?" James Heckman has argued that a big part of the poverty problem has to do with the uneven distribution noncognitive skills. The bourgeois virtues are an important part of success, and this insight is clearly at the heart of Shepard's effort. There's an obvious sense in which modeling the behavior of sober, responsible middle-class parents helps kids learn how to succeed. But what about kids who, for example, look up to crazy A-Rod? Consider his absolutely insane remarks about Andy Pettite.
"Andy is one of the greatest human beings I've ever met," Rodriguez said. "I have two daughters -- well, I have one and one on the way. If I had a daughter, I would want 'em to marry Andy Pettitte. The age difference might be a little awkward, but in today's day and age anything is possible."
I don't want this man anywhere near children, including his own. Oy, talk about a character reference. At least he didn't say he would conscript his toddlers into campaigning against Barack Obama. But this is almost as bad.
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