From the BurningPlatform.com
The problem isn’t that Johnny can’t read. The problem isn’t even that Johnny can’t think. The problem is that Johnny doesn’t know what thinking is; he confuses it with feeling.” ― Thomas Sowell
Over the last few weeks there have been a couple mornings where the Schuylkill Expressway was jammed and I had to take my alternative route through the 30 Blocks of Squalor. I hadn’t had this inspiring dystopian experience all summer. There is nothing like West Philly when the punks, punkettes, and future prison convicts finish a summer of not working, not reading, and not picking up the trash in their neighborhoods, go back to West Philly High and not learn again. The observations will be rehashed in a stream of consciousness format, as West Philly is a smorgasbord of squalor, sordidness, filth, apathy, crime and epic government incompetence.
I inched my way down West Chester Pike in heavy traffic towards the 30 Blocks of Squalor I was seeking signs of the economic revival I keep hearing about from the mainstream media talking heads and our Make America Great Again president. Despite my efforts to see signs of an improving economic situation I witnessed a further deterioration of the suburban landscape.
More businesses have closed. More bars and restaurants are shuttered. More space available signs have sprung up on commercial properties. More unfilled potholes are proliferating on the highways. A once thriving Dairy Queen sits empty, slowly putrefying, just like the neighborhood surrounding it. The lights are mistimed at 69th Street, causing unnecessary traffic gridlock. Exasperated drivers trying to survive another commute to their soul crushing office jobs either fume silently or check the twitter feed on their iGadget. The people on the streets shuffling toward the ancient decrepit subway trains, smelling of urine and BO, look like they could be extras on The Walking Dead.
It is interesting the largest commercial footprint at 69th Street is occupied by our beloved Federal government. It seems putting Army, Navy, and Marine recruitment centers all next to each other in the heart of one of the poorest areas in Pennsylvania is good for business. Nothing like luring low IQ boys with no job prospects into the military as cannon fodder for the military industrial complex. They’ve reduced the mental and physical requirements for recruits to such an extent, any mouth breather can make the grade. It does make you wonder how well our military would really perform against the Russians and/or Chinese.
Once I made it through the Milbourne speed trap and crossed the county line into Filthadelphia, the low-lights began to proliferate at a breakneck pace. As you navigate the 30 Blocks of Squalor beneath the Market/Frankfort El you can’t help wondering whether this is actually America or some third world hell hole city in Iraq or Syria. Along this boulevard of broken dreams, decay, debris, dilapidation and delusion rule the day. You are more likely to see a cop car than you are a woman with a wedding ring or a kid being walked to school by his father.
Words can’t possibly describe the level of foulness you experience driving from Cobbs Creek Parkway to 40th Street along Market St. The filth and squalor is rampant on every block. The few businesses operating must barely scrape by or are subsidized by taxpayer dollars extracted by the government. The employees must fear for their lives on a daily basis, as gunfire rings out on these blocks regularly. You look at the collapsing boarded hovels along this stretch of squalor and are convinced no one could possibly live there, and then you see the Direct TV satellite dish on the roof.
At 7:15 am on a weekday morning every business has their roll down metal gates fully engaged. In a civilized community where citizens abide by social mores of behavior, there is no need for roll down gates, barbed wire on fences, bars on windows, or an overwhelming police presence. West Philly has descended into a lawless, disgusting shithole where young male thugs and gangbangers operate outside the law like savages. The people who live here don’t care about there community as garbage piles up on their sidewalks, bullet holes are common in plate glass windows, and they somehow manage to all have the latest iPhone and Lebron sneakers.
It’s hard to comprehend the degradation of this community without seeing it in person. The putrification of this community continues unabated. Obama campaigned under the Market Frankford El in 2008, promising revitalization. The Obama 2009 porkulus plan poured millions into building low income housing and unnecessary zoo parking garages in order to keep his union vote firmly in hand.
In 2014 he declared the Mantua section a “Promise Zone”, promising more of your tax dollars to people unwilling and incapable of pulling themselves out of squalor. I’ve driven through these mean streets every day during this entire timeframe. I can guarantee you there has been absolutely no revitalization. Phony promises from a phony president and he got 103% of the votes in Mantua.
The poverty rate and true unemployment rate in these West Philly neighborhoods exceed 50%. Over 80% of the children are born out of wedlock. The crime rate is off the charts. The residents are functionally illiterate and completely dependent on the state for their sustenance. Drug dealing is the main form of commerce. There are as many vacant boarded up, dilapidated, crumbling fleapits as there are occupied eyesores. I’ve witnessed some of these pigsties fall down after a heavy rain. The steady deterioration of West Philly continues unabated as Democrat welfare policies encourage dependency, ignorance, sloth, and depravity.
Sink holes appear and are ignored for months by the less than pro-active government drones. They dig holes to fix whatever sewer or water line has broken underground, but feel no obligation to refill the holes. Gaping chasms in the middle of streets remain for months, as incompetent, uncaring, union government workers and their bureaucrat paper pushing apparatchik bosses care more about their gold plated pension plans and retaining their bennies than serving the public. Exploding water mains flood entire neighborhoods on a regular basis as city taxes are funneled to corrupt politicians and their cronies, rather than basic infrastructure needs.
On a recent morning trek, as I approached 49th street, I started to see high school students shuffling towards the six year old 170,000 square foot West Philly High School. With a cost exceeding $20 million, high tech labs, two gyms, all of the latest teaching accoutrements, and a low 15 to 1 student to teacher ratio, it surely must be a shining example of liberal educational excellence in action. Even that shining beacon of liberalism, Hillary Clinton, held a rally at this school last year. At least they made a good decision in making all the students wear a uniform – white shirts, tan pants, and ties. But, you can put lipstick on a pig, but it doesn’t make it a runway model.
You have a brand new school, modern computers, top notch science labs, and a low student to teacher ratio, but the ghetto culture and complete lack of fatherly responsibility keep these students ignorant and trapped in squalor. Does this sound like an educational success story?
- Enrollment has dropped from 893 when the school opened to 575 today.
- Less than 20% of the students meet the minimum standards for math and science, with less than 40% meeting minimum standards for reading.
- There are 659 public high schools in Pennsylvania and West Philly ranks 606. Trophies for everyone.
- 95% of the students are black, with 2.1% Hispanic. I wonder how welcome the 5 white students feel? Brawls, drugs and violence plague the hallways.
- 99.5% of the students get free breakfast and lunch.
- Taxpayers foot the $13,800 cost per student per year.
- Of the 300 or so urban scholars at West Philly High eligible to take the SAT exam in 2016, only 52 took the exam. These represent the “Rhodes Squalors” of the class. This cream of the crop averaged 1,057 on the three parts, well below the level which would predict they could score a C+ in college.
How is it that every student I saw had an iPhone in their hand, despite being desperately poor? Epic failure doesn’t sufficiently describe West Philly High. All the money in the world will not cure cultural degradation, political corruption and learned ignorance. Based on the latest national SAT results, our public educational system is a continued failure, despite spending over $15,000 per student per year. The more we spend educating our children the dumber they get. It almost appears like the goal of the government is to matriculate functionally illiterate, socially programmed, materialistic, consumer automatons into society.
Despite denials by black leaders, Democrat politicians, social justice warriors, and delusional deniers, there is a a direct correlation between educational success and fatherless families. The SAT scores by race tell the story. Only 20% of blacks and 31% of Latinos reach the already pitifully low averages for SAT scores. Do you think the fact 73% of black children are born out of wedlock versus 17% of Asian children has anything to do with these results? Two parent families provide an environment more conducive to educational achievement and higher lifetime earnings. That is an unequivocal fact.
2017 Mean SAT Scores, and Percentage Meeting Benchmarks, by Race and Ethnicity
|Group||Reading and Writing||Mathematics||Met Both Benchmarks|
|American Indian/Alaska Native||486||477||27%|
|Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander||498||488||32%|
The black community is solely responsible for perpetuating this cycle of failure and welfare enslavement in conjunction with Democrat politicians in West Philly and hundreds of other urban shitholes throughout the country. In today’s hyper-political atmosphere it’s racist to blame the black community for their own immoral, reckless, unaccountable behavior, which has led to entrapment in squalor and poverty. The Democrat party has no intention of helping blacks succeed. Keeping them chained on a welfare plantation ensures their votes to keep their free shit coming. So they are left living in neighborhoods like this:
This is what 50 years of Great Society welfare programs and rule by Democrat politicians has wrought. Bombed out German cities after World War II looked better.
When the main businesses in the ghetto are bars, nail salons, fast food joints, and rodent exterminators, you understand why every revitalization plan rolled out by Democrat politicians with taxpayer dollars is a complete failure. No legitimate business will ever risk their own capital to open a business in West Philly. Rampant crime, a non-existent capable workforce, no disposable income, high wage and real estate taxes, and an aging declining population are not exactly a magnet for new businesses.
The most shocking observation when driving through the mean streets of West Philly is the overwhelming level of filth, garbage and debris rampant on every block. I grew up in a lower middle class neighborhood and currently live in suburban neighborhood. My neighbors do not throw garbage on their lawns or in the street. Only people with no sense of community or basic sense of human decency would treat their neighborhood as if it was a garbage dump. Every day is trash day in West Philly. What self respecting human being just throws trash and garbage on the street where they live?
With a 50% unemployment rate and 90% on some form of government assistance, you would think some able bodied residents of West Philly could be put to work cleaning their community, repairing porches, painting homes, and generally improving the quality of life in their neighborhoods. Instead, they have been programmed by the liberal politicians in this city to wait for the government to solve all their problems, provide their housing, feed them, cloth them, clean their streets, insuring never ending dependency on the state. But somehow, half the automobiles on the streets are far more expensive than mine. Fascinating.
There is no exaggeration necessary to convey the level of degradation, dilapidation, and deprivation existent in West Philly, and particularly Obama’s “Promise Zone” of Mantua. I make a right turn onto Fairmount Avenue at 34th Street every morning on my way to work. I pass Freddy Grocery on this block at 7:30 am when its roll down steel gates are down. It is one of the very very few black owned businesses in the community. It seems a young black punk in a hoody shot the 48 year old lady owner last night at 8:30 in a robbery attempt. She is in critical condition and this misunderstood youth is still at large. He didn’t even take the money. Only a feral dog would do such a thing.
This store is on the same block as the infamous $28 million, gated, low income housing townhouse complex called Mantua Square, built with your tax dollars through Obama’s $800 billion porkulus plan. The wonderfully muraled MacMichel grade school for future inmates is also on this block. Mantua Square was built with eight retail store units on the ground floor. Mayor Nutter declared they would revitalize the neighborhood as commerce flourished. That was 2011. Six years later, not a single store has an operating business. Not one. I wonder why. Maybe entrepreneurs don’t want to be murdered in cold blood by one of the neighborhood einsteins.
The mural above was also on my daily route going home from work on 37th Street. The one truth I can guarantee is – the more murals in the neighborhood the more dangerous the neighborhood. This mural portrays a complete falsehood. The kids in this neighborhood aren’t reaching for the stars. They’re reaching for their guns and drugs. There are no fathers in their lives. They have no worthy role models in their lives.
Obama declared their community a “Promise Zone” years ago. Nothing has changed. Murder, drugs and learned ignorance continue to be the culture. Meanwhile, Obama their black savior, is giving speeches on Wall Street for $400,000. The blatant hypocrisy of liberal politicians is awe inspiring. It’s fitting the building with that mural was knocked down as part of the Mantua redevelopment plan and is now an empty, garbage strewn, vacant lot, just like most of this forlorn wasteland of squalor. At the end of this block is another example of worthless liberal ideas and government waste.
I pass the ironically named Mantua Urban Peace Garden every night on the way home. First off, only a community garden in West Philly would need to have locked gates surrounding it. Secondly, the residents of Mantua have nothing to do with this supposed garden. It is 100% funded with taxpayer dollars and run by the horticultural society.
I can honestly attest to never seeing one black person working in that garden in all the years I’ve been working in West Philly. I’ve seen some older white women, but I’m guessing they were employees of the horticultural society. This is nothing but virtue signaling by the corrupt politicians of Philadelphia. This is what a community garden would really look like if created by the fine people of West Philly.
I have some miscellaneous observations which may give some further insight into the culture of West Philly. On one particularly annoying morning, the traffic on Market Street was jammed more than normal. Dozens of cars in front of me crawled slowly from stoplight to stoplight. As I sat in line at 42nd street I looked in my rear view mirror and saw a 30ish black woman with big hair and no wedding ring in a brand new Lexus SUV yapping loudly on her iGadget.
As all the drivers waited patiently for the light, she suddenly accelerated into a non-existent left lane to a left turning lane ten cars ahead. But she had no intention of turning left. When the light turned green she accelerate back into the right lane. I just smiled and made my standard comment to myself regarding black drivers in West Philly.
I’ve seen too many black drivers recklessly, illegally, and without consideration for others do whatever they feel like on the streets of West Philly. A culture of not following social norms or respecting the rights of others is ingrained in the squalorites. Impulse control appears to be a problem for many of the residents of West Philly.
Some of the stuff I see just can’t be conjured up. At the corner of Mantua Ave and 34th Street, where I make a left to go home, a black dude with a white van parks, sets up wood planks, and puts out dozens of watermelons for sale on a regular basis. Sometimes stereotypes are true. Last week I saw a black woman get out of her red Cadillac Escalade and buy a big old watermelon. I doubt the dude has a license to sell watermelons on a street corner. I do appreciate his entrepreneurial spirit, compared to the other 99% of West Philly residents.
Last week I witnessed something I never expected at the corner of 34th & Girard Ave. as I waited to make my left turn. There is usually a beggar at this intersection walking among the four lanes of traffic. This time I had to look twice as a large black man carried six or seven plastic containers among the traffic. I did a double take as I realized he was trying to sell baby turtles to commuters. I’m not sure about his marketing plan, but I give him credit for trying to make money, just as some guys who buy a couple cases of water on 90 degree days and sell bottles to drivers.
Finally, on Friday I got out of my car in my parking garage and got in the elevator. When the doors opened in the lobby, there was a soiled, homeless black man sleeping on the bench in the lobby. This is supposed to be the safe part of West Philly. But safety is relative. He may have been a harmless guy or he could have been an angry, drug crazed, mentally deranged man seeking a victim. This is representative of Philadelphia in general. The politicians have been promoting gentrification of Center City and other formerly dangerous neighborhoods.
The politicians and moneyed white people who think they can live in the “nice” upper class neighborhoods of high rises and doormen safe from the undesirables (aka black people) are badly mistaken. The criminals know where they live. They know they have the money. Upper class white liberals are always shocked when one of their own is mugged, raped or shot. They will reap what they have sowed. Liberal welfare policies implemented over decades have created a grand canyon level gap between the haves and have nots in Philly and other urban enclaves around the country.
There is no implementable solution which would be willingly agreed to by corrupt, liberal, feeble minded, politician plantation owners and their slaves on the welfare plantation. Decades of dependency, ignorance, and fatherless households have created an unfixable culture. Forcing the residents of West Philly to value education, get jobs, and pay for their own food and housing is simply not in the cards. Until our unsustainable debt based welfare/warfare state experiences its inevitable implosion, there will be no improvement or positive change on the 30 Blocks of Squalor. So remember to duck.
“One of the consequences of such notions as ‘entitlements’ is that people who have contributed nothing to society feel that society owes them something, apparently just for being nice enough to grace us with their presence.” ― Thomas Sowell