Work and Worth

What someone is paid has little or no relationship to what their work is worth to society. 

Does anyone seriously believe hedge-fund mogul Steven A. Cohen is worth the $2.3 billion he raked in last year, despite being slapped with a $1.8 billion fine after his firm pleaded guilty to insider trading?

On the other hand, what’s the worth to society of social workers who put in long and difficult hours dealing with patients suffering from mental illness or substance abuse? Probably higher than their average pay of $18.14 an hour, which translates into less than $38,000 a year.

How much does society gain from personal-care aides who assist the elderly, convalescents, and persons with disabilities? Likely more than their average pay of $9.67 an hour, or just over $20,000 a year.

What’s the social worth of hospital orderlies who feed, bathe, dress, and move patients, and empty their ben pans? Surely higher than their median wage of $11.63 an hour, or $24,190 a year.

Or of child care workers, who get $10.33 an hour, $21.490 a year? And preschool teachers, who earn $13.26 an hour, $27,570 a year?

Yet what would the rest of us do without these dedicated people?

Or consider kindergarten teachers, who make an average of $53,590 a year.

Before you conclude that’s generous, consider that a good kindergarten teacher is worth his or her weight in gold, almost.

One study found that children with outstanding kindergarten teachers are more likely to go to college and less likely to become single parents than a random set of children similar to them in every way other than being assigned a superb teacher.

And what of writers, actors, painters, and poets? Only a tiny fraction ever become rich and famous. Most barely make enough to live on (many don’t, and are forced to take paying jobs to pursue their art). But society is surely all the richer for their efforts.

At the other extreme are hedge-fund and private-equity managers, investment bankers, corporate lawyers, management consultants, high-frequency traders, and top Washington lobbyists.

They’re getting paid vast sums for their labors. Yet it seems doubtful that society is really that much better off because of what they do.

I don’t mean to sound unduly harsh, but I’ve never heard of a hedge-fund manager whose jobs entails attending to basic human needs (unless you consider having more money as basic human need) or enriching our culture (except through the myriad novels, exposes, and movies made about greedy hedge-fund managers and investment bankers).

They don’t even build the economy. 

Most financiers, corporate lawyers, lobbyists, and management consultants are competing with other financiers, lawyers, lobbyists, and management consultants in zero-sum games that take money out of one set of pockets and put it into another.

They’re paid gigantic amounts because winning these games can generate far bigger sums, while losing them can be extremely costly.

It’s said that by moving money to where it can make more money, these games make the economy more efficient.

In fact, the games amount to a mammoth waste of societal resources.

They demand ever more cunning innovations but they create no social value. High-frequency traders who win by a thousandth of a second can reap a fortune, but society as a whole is no better off.

Meanwhile, the games consume the energies of loads of talented people who might otherwise be making real contributions to society – if not by tending to human needs or enriching our culture then by curing diseases or devising new technological breakthroughs, or helping solve some of our most intractable social problems.  

Graduates of Ivy League universities are more likely to enter finance and consulting than any other career. 

For example, in 2010 (the most recent date for which we have data) close to 36 percent of Princeton graduates went into finance (down from the pre-financial crisis high of 46 percent in 2006). Add in management consulting, and it was close to 60 percent.

The hefty endowments of such elite institutions are swollen with tax-subsidized donations from wealthy alumni, many of whom are seeking to guarantee their own kids’ admissions so they too can become enormously rich financiers and management consultants.

But I can think of a better way for taxpayers to subsidize occupations with more social merit: Forgive the student debts of graduates who choose social work, child care, elder care, nursing, and teaching.  

An Amazing Village Designed Just For People With Dementia

Hogeweyk, from a certain perspective, seems like a fortress: A solid podium of apartments and buildings, closed to the outside world with gates and security fences. But, inside, it is its own self-contained world: Restaurants, cafes, a supermarket, gardens, a pedestrian boulevard, and more.

The idea, explains Hogeweyk’s creators, is to design a world that maintains as much a resemblance to normal life as possible—without endangering the patients.

Each apartment hosts six to eight people, including caretakers—who wear street clothes—and the relationship between the two is unique. Residents help with everything from cooking to cleaning. They can buy whatever they want from the grocery. They can get their hair done or go to a restaurant. It’s those basic routines and rituals that can help residents maintain a better quality of living.

The woman in Room 609, Storme DeLarverie, has dementia. She is but one anonymous elderly New Yorker in a city with thousands upon thousands of them. And many of those who marched down Fifth Avenue on Sunday would be hard pressed to realize that this little old lady — once the cross-dressing M.C. of a group of drag-queen performers, once a fiercely protective (and pistol-packing) bouncer in the city’s lesbian bars — was one of the reasons they were marching.

A Stonewall Veteran, 89, Misses the Parade

regardless of whether they’ve made history, our LGBTQ elders need and deserve safe, culturally-appropriate elder care.

edited to add that Storme DeLarverie recently passed away, may she rest in peace.

NEWSHOUR: Has overmedicating seniors become ‘America’s other drug problem’?

An increasing number of elderly patients nationwide are on multiple medications to treat chronic diseases, raising their chances of dangerous drug interactions and serious side effects. Often the drugs are prescribed by different specialists who don’t communicate with each other. 

Read more


(I’ve updated this post to clean up quick spelling errors and add info, I’m very touched by how much tumblr and twitter have taken to getting the word out!  PLEASE do send in those emails in comments, we can not fail in showing our support for the last living silent film star and a stand up woman!)

URGENT Please help Baby Peggy!

MPTF Feels The Last Living Silent Film Star doesn’t deserve care from them!   Great Niece of Doug and Mary released this statement: “As a member of the Fairbanks & Pickford families, I urge you to support Baby Peggy (Diana Serra Cary). Being old should be an honored position, especially for one who spent their childhood entertaining millions. Join me in doing a Good Deed for Baby Peggy!”


Baby Peggy (Diana Serra Cary), beloved star of silent films, received over a million fan letters for her 150 shorts and features. Her highly-praised autobiography, Whatever Happened to Baby Peggy?, spawned a feature-length documentary. Now 97 and healthy but alarmingly frail, she has attempted for months to find financial support for modest in-home, non-medical care from the Motion Picture and Television Fund (MPTF), founded by her screen contemporaries Mary Pickford and Charlie Chaplin with one stated mission: “Taking Care of Our Own."Instead of honoring this, MPTF management has refused Baby Peggy any support whatsoever, claiming her limited time in the motion picture industry and modest pension (which covers only bare living expenses) prevents this. In other words, her childhood should have been longer – and now she is effectively not poor enough.

Such shameful treatment of our oldest surviving silent star is particularly indefensible given the MPTF CEO, Bob Beitcher, reportedly earns over $700,000 per year, while his top ten employees take home a total of $4 million. This outrageous situation needs high visibility to hopefully change the MPTF’s mistreatment of a movie pioneer. I ask everyone to join forces and make the MPTF take immediate, compassionate action. Here’s how:

1) Email MPTF CEO and President Bob Beitcher at bbeitcher@mptf.com and tell him he needs to quickly reverse his organization’s appalling refusal to provide assistance to Ms. Cary, and fund her need for in-home, non-medical support. Copy your email to info@MPTF.com

2) Re-post this right now on your own page, and any others you feel are appropriate. We need to get the word out fast! Baby Peggy’s situation is urgent!

3) “Like” the MPTF’s Facebook Page http://www.facebook.com/mptf/?fref=ts then post a comment about its disgraceful refusal of support to Baby Peggy despite its mission statement to do so (fyi you may not need to ‘like’ to comment, I was able to).

4) (Added by me) Post this tumblr link or our site link (http://bit.ly/1SokI6k) and include @mptf (twitter and tumblr) #babypeggy #wetakecareofourown Try and get anyone and everyone to listen (but without spamming of course.)

(You can learn about the MPTF mission at http://www.mptf.com/about and see how they are ignoring their own charter.)

Taking the above actions will cost you nothing, and will mean the world to a frantic senior citizen who spent her childhood making movies that have entertained the world ever since. Diana Serra Cary is aware of this post, and saddened it has come to this juncture. Ever since the MPTF’s founding, she had always assumed it would be there in time of need; after all, that was always its entire purpose.Please help spread the word and make the MPTF abide by its mission!

***Added by Me (I don’t want to take away from Ron’s great piece, he is a great guy!): I protested to Save Pickfair, and I wrote and fought against @mptf trying to kick out its last needy residents in 2010. They didn’t and well that was good.  But I’m disgusted we’re here again.  A woman who gave up her childhood (through no choice of her own) to film and now is the last living silent film star.  Did we learn nothing from Mickey Rooney?  A film worker from Marilyn Monroe’s days deserves as much respect and care as THE LAST LIVING SILENT FILM STAR EVER.  DO THEY NOT REALIZE WHEN SHE IS GONE WE’LL HAVE LOST OUR LAST LEAF TO THAT ERA?

I get very angry about healthcare in America in general, but to sit and tell a 97 year old woman who has been to hell and back that she isn’t poor or important enough to get care well…these guys better watch out.  Mary Pickford is probably so outraged she’ll go on a zombie rampage.  We have no respect or human decency anymore, its disgusting.

We’ve been trying to get Diana a star on the Walk of Fame (hence the name) since 2012.  I’d rather she never get a star and get decent healthcare and human dignity in whatever time she has left.  But most importantly I want her to know she is loved, appreciated, care for, admired and respected.  If you love film at all, you will raise almighty hell til we get our girl her rightful care!!!

@miss-flapper @maudelynn (thanks guys your reposts help a lot!)

UPDATE: @mptf​ Head Bob Beitcher responds…so we do too.  I think its disgusting he brings up Diana’s personal life, then claims he can’t defend himself anymore because he can’t ‘intrude in her privacy’.  He also lies saying she denied a home visit, but she didn’t. I hope everyone who reads this will understand the situation and let him know we know he is not telling the truth: http://astarforbabypeggy.com/mptf-snubbed-baby-peggy-help-our-girl/mptf-responds-so-we-do-too/
I urge everyone to respectfully reply to him and let him know we will not rest until Baby Peggy is given the basic human dignity she deserves.

Contact: (818) 876-4155 f: (818) 876-1371 Bob.Beitcher@mptf.com www.MPTF.com

Which Daedric Prince Should YOU Fight?
  • Boethiah: If you try to fight Boethiah she'll somehow turn it into a months-long legal dispute involving your whole family before finally having you murdered by someone you thought was a friend. Don't fight Boethiah. Befriend her and stab her in the back.
  • Mephala: Rogues have very soft bodies. Fight Mephala if you don't mind her carefully engineering your downfall after you beat her up.
  • Malacath: Go ahead, fight Malacath, tell him that you're getting revenge for something and you can pretty much do whatever the fuck you want to him
  • Mehrunes Dagon: Are you a God? Do not fight Mehrunes Dagon.
  • Sanguine: Why would you fight Sanguine? Do you hate fun? Do you hate to have fun? Do you just want to indulge his BDSM kink? Actually, fight Sanguine, do it while drunk and clad entirely in spandex, he'll love it, trust me
  • Molag Bal: You absolutely should fight Molag Bal oh my god just give him everything you've got, kick him in the nuts for me
  • Clavicus Vile: Fight Clavicus Vile. He's a weenie little lawyer type and you could probably give him a wedgie. Do not, however, fight Barbas, you asshole, why would you fight Barbas
  • Azura: Fight Azura, do it for the dunmer, please just sock her in the face
  • Hircine: He's going to try and drag it out into this huge bullshit Predators vs Prey bullshit shenanigan charade so if you do fight him make sure you end it quick and dirty with a firm punch to the face.
  • Meridia: Honestly why would you even want to fight Meridia? What has she ever done to you? Team up with Meridia and fight Molag Bal.
  • Sheogorath: NO NO NO
  • Namira: She'll lie in a stinking mess in the ground while you pummel her and she'll look really pathetic and gross when you're done with her and your hands will smell bad for the whole week. Don't fight Namira.
  • Vaermina: If you can go long periods without sleeping then Vaermina is the Daedric opponent for you! Go ahead and give her a whack!
  • Hermaeus Mora: Does the idea of being enclosed in a mass of slowly writhing tentacles appeals to you? If so, fight Hermaeus Mora.
  • Nocturnal: You cant fight what you cant see, don't fight Nocturnal
  • Peryite: Fight Peryite. He's weak and diseased and you can take a really cool picture of yourself holding a dragon in a headlock

“Considering the fact that you’re sitting here on your own with a newspaper of all things, Quinlan probably found your novels stockpile once again and threw them off the Prydwen. Well… Me and new knight are going to secure Boston’s Public Library from the supermutants today. May worth checking in for any replacements I guess”.

Eldercare provider: ‘We want respect and a living wage’

As more Americans live longer and longer, 79 percent of people who need long-term care live at home or in community settings. By 2050, the number of elderly people who will receive long-term care is expected to reach 27 million, up from 13 million in 2000.

So, who’s providing all this caretaking?

Many of the people who care for all these seniors receive low pay, often below their state’s minimum wage. Few receive health benefits, and most states offer no protections for harassment, abuse or unsafe and unsanitary conditions. Hours can be long and irregular, and client turnover may suddenly cut off their incomes. The need for caretakers is urgent, their work intimate and demanding, but the median pay is just $16,800 a year.

Read more

(Photo: America Tonight)

Eggsy had been so terrified to meet Harry’s father.

All along the interminable drive through the countryside, Eggsy had been bouncing out of his seat. He’d even been so nervous he’d demanded Harry pull over so he could ah, work out his emotions. Once. Or twice. Then again in the backseat.

The minute the Benz had swept up the drive to the Georgian house and three purebred Pomeranians had come running to greet them, he’d been so nervous the nausea had him swallowing hard in case he actually managed to throw up.

But no, really, he had been a nervous wreck before that.

He’d honestly just never met almost anyone’s dad before, barring maybe …well no this was a bona fide first. And Harry wasn’t entirely affectionate in his recollections of his father. There was a strain of resentment, a certain cold unease. If Eggsy could sometimes sense a dead vine of self-doubt at Harry’s throat, he didn’t need much imagination to divine where the seed had come form.

He was expecting a frozen hearted, cold man with perfect manners that dripped disdain with every word. One who would spend about fifteen minutes looking down his nose at Eggsy without addressing him directly before lecturing Harry for fifteen hours on how the whole country was going to hell in a handbasket. Because of certain types.

When Harry had slowly walked out of the car and pulled Eggsy along with him, he had immediately been greeted with a shout.


Eggsy had whirled around to find that an elderly man adorned in an old wool cardigan and cap was stumping down the lawn, assisted by a cane and veering wildly from side to side on his good leg.

“Father!” snapped Harry. He immediately ran to grab the man by the arm and haul him towards the front door. “You shouldn’t be out walking by yourself.”

“I’M AS GOOD ON TWO LEGS AS I EVER WAS,” insisted the elderly gent, very close to Harry’s ear. “Stop worrying. Come now, I need my excitement at my age. Have the young man do a gymnastic”

Harry cast a look over his shoulder to gesture at Eggsy to hurry along as he pulled his father into the house. Eggsy had frozen by the car. Harry’s mouth was already set in a thin worried line, and he had an arm around his father that really did look a bit too tight.

“Do a gymnastic,” insisted the elderly man. “And you must stay for dinner.”

Eggsy stared in between Harry and his father for a long moment. Then he shrugged and back flipped into the house. He skidded a bit as he landed on the marble floor in the front hallway, but looked up at the two generations of Hart men with a raised eyebrow.

“Jolly good!” shouted the elderly Hart. “Again!”

“I hope you realize you’ll have to do that on command from now on,” muttered Harry darkly, and he led his father over to have tea.

There were a few signs here and there that the patriarch’s health wasn’t as good as it should be. His hands shook as he counted out a large number of pills before his evening meal, that Harry insisted on checking himself as well.

Harry’s hands started to shake when his father lit a pipe after dinner.

“Don’t you give me that look lad,” huffed the his father. “Eggsy I could tell you stories about our Harry that would turn your hair grey.”

“Please do,” said Eggsy with his most winning smile, as he folded Harry’s hands into his own. He kept them there until the man concluded a rather impressive monologue.

“… and so the Headmaster invited Harry back to school, but he still hadn’t got all of the chickens out of his car.”

Eggsy howled with laughter along with Mr. Hart while Harry muttered a few sulky words into his whiskey.

It wasn’t until bedtime, when Eggsy had changed into a rather stiff set of pyjamas that he actually began to worry though. He was returning from the loo down the hall when he saw Harry’s father standing still in the hallway, eyes transfixed into the distance.

“Er- excuse me sir -”

The man jumped and turned to stare at Eggsy.

“Bless my soul! Who are you?”

His eyes were blank of recognition. Eggsy swallowed.

“I’m Eggsy - er Gary Unwin I suppose -”

“Oh yes, I remember now,” sighed the old man. “You know my son Harry would love you. You have a much kinder face than that trollop he -”

“Father!” Harry’s eyes were wide. “Let me bring you to your room.”

“Of course, of course,” the old man waved at his son. “Don’t fuss. Please.” His eyes went back to Eggsy. “And goodnight Eggsy. It was a pleasure meeting you indeed.”

The recognition was back in his eyes, and he seemed far more composed once his son had appeared. But still.

That night Eggsy waited in bed for Harry, until the man re-appeared. His face was exhausted. Wordless, he lay down in bed with Eggsy then rolled over and pressed his face into the younger man’s stomach. A strong feeling of helplessness settled over Eggsy as Harry’s shoulders began to shake and dampness began to seep onto his stomach. There wasn’t much he could do but wrap his arms around the man. Eventually Harry’s shoulders stilled, but he still lay with his face pressed into Eggsy’s stomach.

Finally he rolled over, and stared up at Eggsy, eyes red. He opened his mouth to say something, but nothing but a long gust of a sigh came out.

“I’m sorry,” whispered Eggsy. He leaned down, pressed his lips softly against Harry’s brow, at the worry lines. “I’m so sorry.”

Harry looked up at him with a weak smile. “You know he trained Merlin himself? Invented half of our Kingsman tech single handed.” A long sigh. “Though I suppose that part of his memory is still sound.”

Eggsy nodded. He wrapped his arms around his lover and continued pressing kisses against his face until they both drifted off to sleep.

I was all set to liveblog the Republican debate tonight when my aunt called to inform me my grandmother is being kicked out of her nursing home. Without going into a lengthy discussion about her care and what I think is appropriate let’s instead marvel at the badassery.

This 84 year old, 4 foot 11 inches tall, feisty little woman is simply too much to handle. She’s made a break for it, TWICE. She literally gives ‘em hell, daily.

And now she’s been expelled. I suspect this has been her goal all along.