Well it’s been many months since my last 30 Blocks of Squalor article. The last article detailing my commute through the beautiful streets of West Philly was Mantua Square – Your Own Block of Squalor. The Schuykill Expressway has been good to me, until last Wednesday. A three car accident forced me to deviate my trek to my old friend, the 30 Blocks of Squalor. My normal route still takes me through the bleakest parts of West Philly, but I go through at such an early time the thugs and murderers are still asleep after a hard night of killing, raping and pillaging. I had been observing a number of things in my daily trip through West Philly over the last few months that I want to get off my chest. For any new readers, I’ve included a library of links to previous 30 Blocks posts. I didn’t realize how many Squalor posts I had made. Some may find them offensive. I admit that they push the envelope and may possibly step over the line of good taste, but if you can’t take a joke then you shouldn’t be on TBP. I think they are funny and questioning of those who caused the squalor. I always have more questions than answers when discussing the 30 Blocks of Squalor.

Observations have been piling up in my brain over the last six months of trekking around lovely West Philly. Philadelphia is descending into chaos. Decades of Democratic rule have created a mini welfare/warfare state. There have been 32 murders committed in 27 days. When you enter the city limits you are greeted by this sign.

Just kidding. Every day I drive through the Mantua section of West Philly. Before the 1940’s, Mantua was mainly a white Lutheran neighborhood. But over time African Americans families moved into the area. The early to mid 1960’s, the residents began to see the start of gang warfare. Between 1960 and 1969, Mantua recorded about 10 percent of total city gang killings. The Philadelphia Police Department often assigned patrols in Mantua simply as punishments to officers. Over a decade, six major gangs called the 10.5 block their territory. During the 1980’s there was a ride of drug-related crimes. It’s seen in many industrialized cities during that time period. Many residents started to flee after crack-cocaine and the existing heroin hit the area. The number of residents went from 19,000 in the 1960’s to around 6,000 by the 90’s. There were several hundred vacant lots all along the streets. The stores that were in Mantua during the 1950’s like galleries and movie theaters were replaced by grab-and-go beer stores and delis.

A couple pizza joints, a couple corner bars and a couple delis constitute all the commerce in Mantua. The Census data shows that blacks make up in excess of 90% of the population, but all of the businesses are run by whites or asians. They are murdered on a regular basis by black criminals. The areas closest to Drexel University and the University of Penn have been rejuvenated by people willing to invest capital, renovate old houses, and rent them out to students. This is free market capitalism at its finest. These areas are patrolled by the private police forces from Drexel and Penn. It’s a thriving community.


But, just three blocks above these areas looks like a war zone. Dilapidated falling down hovels dominate every block. There appear to be more vacant house than occupied houses. The word squalor doesn’t properly capture the bleak nature of this neighborhood. When I drive down 37th street on my way home every night I get an eerie feeling. There are dozens of row homes on this block. There are cars parked in front of them. But, it is dark outside and it looks like only one out of ten houses has a light on inside. There are very few people walking around. I’m left wondering whether 90% of the houses are vacant or whether people are living in these houses without electricity. It is truly a depressing sight.

2916 West Thompson Street, Philadelphia PA

In the midst of this squalor is an oasis of apparent luxury. Encompassing an entire block between 35th and 36th at Wallace St. is a beautiful complex of 110 townhomes built in the last year. Below is a picture of the grand opening of this development.

How and why this was built in a neigborhood where the average home value is $25,000, more than a quarter of the existing hovels are vacant, the average household income is less than $16,000, the true unemployment rate is above 50%, and crime is rampant, would be logical questions by someone with an ounce of critical thinking skills. When you find out the project cost $27 million ($245,000 per house) to build, you ask yourself what businessman in his right mind would do such a thing. Well don’t worry. A businessman didn’t build this oasis amidst squalor. Your government did, with your tax dollars (or your unborn children’s dollars or Chinese borrowed dollars). That’s right – the Obama stimulus plan, along with HUD money, built this monument to government waste, stupidity and entitlement. It’s a low income housing development. The rest of the surrounding neighborhood looks like this:


I’m still trying to figure out the stimulus aspect of this $27 million taxpayer funded boondoggle. The project was built by union construction workers at a cost per square foot of approximately $200. The houses in the neighborhood are worth approximately $25 per square foot. The government included 8 stores within the project. They all face towards the Morton McMichael Middle School, that looks like a prison, with bars and cages over every window in the building. A full 20% of the students are proficient in math at this fine public school. And the dropout rate is only 50%.

Back in July when I first wrote about Mantua Square, I wondered about the government building 8 store fronts when there was no demand for new stores in this neighborhood. Business owners start businesses if they think they can make profits. With average household income below $16,000 and rampant criminality in the neighborhood, I wondered who would open a business here. Well, it is now seven months later and the 8 stores remain vacant. It appears that government’s plan of “Build it and they will come” has failed. I’m shocked I tell you.

I’ve been observing the goings on around this development as I drive by every morning. What we have are poor black people living in heavily government subsidized homes and paying little to no rent. Pennsylvania also provides grants to poor people for utilities, so they are paying little to nothing for heat and light. These people are surely part of the 46 million on food stamps. Many are receiving Social Security disability payments and are being supported by various other welfare programs. As I drive by at 7:30 am every morning there is no hustle and bustle from these townhomes. No one is rushing out the door to get to work. It almost appears to be a ghost town, but I know there are people living there because on trash day there are bags and bags of trash piled by the curb. They evidently can’t afford trash cans. Why leave the comfort of a government provided townhome and look for a job? There is absolutely no incentive to work when you can do nothing and have the state take care of you.

Of course, an inquiring mind wonders why there are Cadillacs, Minivans, and a multitude of other newer model cars surrounding this low income housing estate. The inner courtyard is only accessible through an electronic fence. In the last week I’ve witnessed a Mercedes covertible and a Cadillac Escalade SUV exiting this “low income” estate through the gated driveway. As I cruise by in my Honda Insight to my job, after a 30 mile commute, I know where the 4% taken from my paycheck by the City of Philadelphia has gone.

In my mind this is an example of government gone wild. It is clear why Philadelphia has 26% less population today than it did in 1950. After 60 years of Democratic Party rule, the city is a shambles. The productive hard working people left as the liberal do-gooders took their hard earned money and redistributed to the unproductive people. This created a culture of entitlement and lack of individual responsibility among those remaining in West Philly and many other sections of Philadelphia. In a society where you succeeded or failed based upon your own efforts and actions, people are motivated to succeed. Failure would mean a hard life of not being able to afford the basics of life like a house, food, TVs, cell phones, etc. Studying hard in school, getting married, working at a job, and raising a family is how you slowly but surely get ahead in life. By providing the poor with housing, food, education, cable TV, and not making them accountable for having  children out of wedlock, the government has created an intolerable fiscal and social situation. West Philly is now inhabited by a class of people incapable of functioning like normal human beings. Most of the children are born out of wedlock. 50% of the kids drop out of school. The unemployment rate is 50%. Only 20% of the households are occupied by married people. Philadelphia is broke. Pennsylvania is broke. The United States is broke. When the money stops flowing to the ignorant entitled masses of West Philly all hell will break loose. It is not a question of whether this will happen, but when.

Philadelphia had 2.1 million people in 1950. Today, they have 1.5 million people. The government solution to problems caused by government solutions is to raise taxes. Eventually you reach a tipping point. There are very few productive people left in Phila to shake down. The Mantua Square low income housing development is less than one year old. The little plots of grass in front of their homes are already littered with trash and beer bottles. As the neighborhood around this taxpayer paid for oasis continues to spiral downward, they will need to put bars on the windows and electrify the fence. The hoards will be looking to ransack and pillage the only thing they haven’t destroyed yet. I think a new government program paid for with your taxes is needed to rectify this situation. Don’t you?
























  1. Well, Admin, I toured North Philly on Saturday, and have to tell you that the 30 Blocks has a rival just across the Expressway. I ventured into town to take my son to see the Temple-St. Joe’s game at the Liacouras Center. Let’s just say that your best bet is to take a helicopter lest you be forced to drive just 2 blocks off of Broad Street by the unfriendly police officers who close down streets for some reason as the game traffic lets out. Within minutes, you find yourself cruising through red lights so as to not expose yourself to the increasingly likely car jacking by the thugs and vagrants crowded by the sidewalk outside the thriving corner bars. And there are no working street lights. I tell you, when you get to the Expressway, you let out an audible exhale of relief. And you don’t have to listen to the homeless guy shrieking “I hate Gang-Grich”! On the bright side, Temple looks like a good bet for an invite to March Madness. Just try and catch them at the Palestra or Wells Fargo Center.

    1. Robmu1

      Do you ever wonder how the homeless guy at the Girard Ave off-ramp of the Expressway with the sign saying he needs money has a nicer coat on than the one you are wearing?

  2. I did not see him – I was driving 80 MPH out of sheer fear, even though deep down I knew I could not outrun staccato gunbursts. What kind of coat does he have?

    1. Chaps by Ralph Lauren

      Meanwhile he is begging from a guy in a hybrid, wearing a three year old Dockers jacket, bought on sale at Kohl’s using a 30% off coupon.

  3. Kohls is such a rip-off. They wanted almost 60 bucks for a pair of Levis blue jeans when you can find them other places for 25 bucks or less. Take off the 30% savings YAY! I saved! O YAY!! WOO!!

    Dumb arses.

  4. Curious was there ever some big industry in philly that went bellyup?My only experience there was to make a few deliverys in industrial areas or drive straight through on the freeway.
    When the jobs and positive feelings go away,well thats a lot of citys now.The amount
    of boarded up buildings everywhere is bad.
    Id wonder if someday a lot of this well be attributed to jobs going overseas.

  5. Look to Detroit for Philly’s future. Ron Paul said that when the govt subsidizes something, you get more of it. What could any intelligent person expect, under the circumstances. This place is the FSA times ten. Get out while you still can.

  6. ron

    There was tons of industry in Phila. They have ports, refineries, manufacturing, retail. As the taxes increased and productive people fled to the suburbs, the industry dried up. There are closed businesses all over the city.

  7. OMG, this reminds me of a time I was working at the bank and one of the regulars, an attorney, came in and pointed out to me the fact that the guy just before him, a regular welfare recipient, had on a three hundred dollar pair of new shoes.

  8. the chicken-egg metaphor leads backwards tens of thousands of years at the least. maybe more like hundreds of thousands of years.

    yet, the statutory end of slavery in north america is only about 150 years ago. the statutory end of jim crow america less than 50 years (voting rights act of 1964).

    not making excuses. to the contrary, i think the singular greatest triumph of american society and culture is the progress made in my lifetime, over the past 50 years or so. the best evidence of the genius and success of america.

    (yeah, i have a lot of individual bias).

    this equality shit takes time. especially when so many tools thrown at solutions are double-edged. trigger unforeseen negative effects.

    admin, you and i are on the same page wrt the 30 blocks and race in general. a little minor squabble here and there. usually resolved with competing bad taste humor (which i concede your superiority, but i will keep trying).

    but there is an obvious answer to the chicken-egg conundrum. obvious and unequivocal. slavery and jim crow america. it wasn’t that long ago.

    denial of this simple reality is just silly. celebration of this simple reality, that we have come so far, is in order. not as an excuse; not as a salve to the millions of americans mired in the 30 blocks.

    just the fucking fact.

    we’re doing pretty well for just 50 years. we’ve made some horrific mistakes (welfare state for life, first and foremost). we got a lot more work to do, including correcting the massive errors.

    i am tempted to add something about current debt slavery, and slavery to the bernays-consumerism society. factors in america that see no skin color (even selling that hippy-hop noise they call music). but i’ll set those arguments aside. this topic always makes me hungry–think i’ll head uptown for some chicken for lunch.

    1. howard

      As TBP’s black member, I always wait to hear your view on my 30 Blocks posts. TBP isn’t exactly diverse.

      I see the thirty blocks and our economic system in a similar way. There is no easy painless way out. It has taken decades to create and nothing will solve our problems without tremendous pain, suffering and probably violence and death. I just can’t see a path to fixing these problems. Plus, I see no one proposing a path to fixing these problems.

      I’m afraid collapse is the most likely scenario.

  9. I regularly read your articles, particularly 4th turning guided or influenced ones. However, they are a little lengthy and require some critical thinking or background knowledge. While this isn’t a negative attribute, it does make some of my friends reluctant to read them. I was thinking about how our fractional reserve banking system could be compared to the children’s game of musical chairs, starting off with the basics and building from there, and thought I would suggest to you that such an analogy could be an easily understood and somewhat amusing article. It would also easily explain the need to get into solid assets before the collapse, and how few “chairs” there really are in proportion to the number of players or dollars actually exist or only digitally exist. Thank you for turning me on to The Fourth Turning by the way.

  10. You need to go visit Detroit. I’m not saying Philly is good, but in Detroit you’ll be able to see 20 years into the future.

    Wear a vest.

  11. one more thing. least of all do i intend to excuse or let government off the hook. you wrote:

    “By providing the poor with housing, food, education, cable TV, and not making them accountable for having children out of wedlock, the government has created an intolerable fiscal and social situation.”

    absolutely goddamn fucking 100% correct. i could not agree more. this was the case when i was a child in south central los angeles in the mid 1960s; it is exactly the same today. 50 years wasted.

  12. Kim P – I think Jim’s articles provide a useful depth that is sorely lacking most other places. You might consider writing the abridged, Cliff’s Notes or Reader’s Digest version for your friends who lack either patience or intellect for the original version.

    Also, if you think Jim is verbose, we need to introduce you to Reverse Engineer.

  13. A serious 30-blocks article. I like the funny one’s better. It’s regression toward the mean. I’ve been to Africa many times. They are poor and live in huts. They don’t take care of their surroundings, throw garbage everywhere, and do little or nothing productive once the harvest is over.

    I’ve been to Europe many times, France in particular is a very lovely place, palaces, Versailles. These divergent cultures developed over the same time period, one living in (debt) splendor, the other in huts still killing each other off. Nobody subverted or subjugated Africa. Some countries were European colonies, but they have nobody to blame. They are very happy living in huts with garbage everywhere, no responsibility or bills, some of the happiest people I’ve ever seen on this planet.

    And now, in American cities, with huge black populations, society is regressing back toward the mean, which is Africa, and away from the European mean. Genocide continues in Africa, as it does in the U.S. The pictures you posted above look like Africa. The riots in the 60’s fostered the LBJ’s welfare state, and we’ve spent $16 trillion dollars on welfare since it’s inception. Like everything the government does, spending $16 trillion should have solved some problems, but it hasn’t, it’s only made it worse, much worse.

    The eternal problem, since slavery, is black people don’t conform to European WASP ideals and living standards, no matter how or what has been tried, nor should they. The first, most common error of white people: black people should be like us, they want to be like us, and we must make them like us. Big mistake. Some have converted, and found it acceptable, but it’s never going to happen en masse. So, the government throws trillions of dollars at the problem, but it’s never going to change, and it’s only gotten worse. If you were black, would you have the same reaction to the “squalor”? I doubt it.

    This problem will NEVER be solved. All the blacks are never going to become WASPy, and WASPs and Catholics are never going to embrace black culture and habits. It’s just never going to happen.

    As you said, once the money stops flowing, all hell is going to break loose. It will be survival of the fittest, Darwin, all over again. The weak will die, and the organized strong will rule. Someday, after the civil war, when the dust settles and people no longer worry about being “politically correct” and all the other bullshit to explain away the real situation, maybe there will be a peace, but the problem is never going to be solved.

    1. AWD

      I don’t understand your distinction between black people and white people. Everyone can study hard in school, work hard at their job, get married, stay married, have kids, teach them what is important in life, spend less than they make, save the difference and accumulate wealth, and get ahead in life. I don’t think race has anything to do with these basic building blocks to a better life.

  14. It seems the ghettos are turning parts of America into Africa. I would imagine if government subsities did not go into these places riots would occur. In America we have different types of realities existing at the same time. Has anyone asked the question as to why the ghettos are so economically depressed? Or is that a censored question? In this country with all the opportunity for education it seems that many in a certain race don’t want it. Has anyone asked why? Or is this also a censored question? Someday we as a people will have to look at our problems straight on and deal with them. Poverty of the mind is the reason for physical poverty. Government subsities will not eliminate poverty of the mind; nor will it eliminate physical poverty. As long as these people can vote they will get their subsities.

  15. [email protected] says:

    A beautifully written masterly dissection of the soul and life destroying policies of the far-left, progressive Democrats. Bravo!!

    I was going to match you rant for rant, or hurl some of my scathing satire into the mix, but what I really feel is a profound sorrow at the tragic destruction of the lives and communities by these insane policies. The lives blighted, the moral characters corrupted, the minds twisted by a poisonous Colt45 brew of political correctness, intellectual arrogance and hypocrisy makes me either weep or rage or both.

    All in the name of “helping people”, for “the greater good”, “strengthening our communites” ad nauseum, in vomitorium, for ever, amen. These bleeding heart do gooders swoop in for the photo-shoot and the adoration from the “community leaders”, then leave in their private jets and limos to congradulate each other for their “compassion” at their Georgetown cocktail parties and vacation homes in the Hamptoms. You have to be a special kind of psychopath to ignore the horrific havoc your policies inevitably cause…..

    Welcom to Obama’s America. These big government programs of housing, welfare, “free health care” and increased public school funding are the wet dreams of Obama and his fellow travellers. We who have to live in and around these hellholes, and pay for them, are just mouth breathing racists bitter clingers who need enlightenment, obviously. ***cue eye rolling*** And many wonder at the visceral loathing we have of the man and his policies.

    I have ceased to worry about it, actually. It is an utter unsustainable system and will end, and soon. These people are irretrievably broken in a fundamental way. The “how” and “why” are not important at this time. They will be the Zombie Horde when TSHTF. You have only to look at how they behaved in Katrina, the power outages in the NE, the Rodney King riots.

    I just buy case after case of ammo for my AR-15s and stock up on as many large magazines as I can find.

    Come to Texas, Jim. GET OUT of PA!!! Outside of Dallas, we don’t have any place that looks like the 30 Blocks.

  16. Administrator says: “I don’t think race has anything to do with these basic building blocks to a better life.”

    Are you saying that all men are created equal? In this country all have equal opportunity but that does not mean that all have the capacity to take advantage of these basic building blocks. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink. Observations are important.

    This is what our current leaders don’t understand about the world. They think they can go out and nation build democracies that people there don’t want. Change your thinking, change your world. Easier said than done. You have presented a demonstration of this in your article, “30 BLOCKS OF SQUALOR – CHICKEN OR THE EGG.”

    1. Thunderbird

      I do believe that every person born into this country has the capacity to succeed in life.

      I believe government policies have created a culture that makes it extremely difficult or impossible for millions to get ahead in life.

      I don’t believe there is anything innate within certain races that makes them incapable of succeeding.

      I get the impression from you and AWD, that you beleive there is something genetic involved. Am I correct in my assumption?

  17. HZK said: “Welcom to Obama’s America. ”

    I think you mean “Welcome to Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society.”

    Or, perhaps, “Welcome to FDR’s Gentle Socialism.”

    Same party though.

    Next time someone asks me how Democrats and Republicans differ, I will tell them: “Republicans are directly and overtly destructive. Democrats are indirectly and quietly destructive.”

  18. Admin sayz:

    “I don’t understand your distinction between black people and white people. Everyone can study hard in school, work hard at their job, get married, stay married, have kids, teach them what is important in life, spend less than they make, save the difference and accumulate wealth, and get ahead in life. I don’t think race has anything to do with these basic building blocks to a better life.”

    Thank you for proving my point. Your ethnocentric point of view, your European values. If only the poor blacks would follow your values, they’d get ahead in life. And have massive debt, bills, worries, stress, headaches, obesity. Or, they can be poor and happy. Except the poor aren’t happy, because they’re addicted to entitlements.

    You can’t shove your ideals of how to get ahead and how things work down another race’s throat. Yea, let’s spend another $16 trillion trying to get them to accept these values and see where we are at that point. They don’t want these values, it’s abundantly clear, or they would accept them. It’s not a racial thing, it’s a cultural thing.

    I’ll say it again, in case you missed it. The poorer the country, the happier are the people. Or, get on the American rat-race treadmill, fight each other on the expressway everyday, stress and save, and be a debt slave. Or be happy. Tough choice.

  19. Genetic and cultural. Hence, my introduction of 2000 years of history, and the WASP/Catholic/European path versus the African path. Were we are today. My friends in Africa always have two things to say when they visit the U.S. First, they say slavery is the best thing that ever happened to American blacks. Not their ancestors, but the ones here today, all the benefits of living here, even if they’re poor, and none of the misery (unless self-induced). Otherwise, they’d be living in shacks farming for millet and palm oil, drinking filthy water and dying from treatable diseases. The other thing they say is calling American blacks “African-Americans” is a joke. Unless they were born in Africa and moved to the U.S., they are not African-Americans. My friend Mousa went on a speaking trip to a few universities, and to watch the faces of the black college kids when he told them they were hypocrites for calling themselves African-Americans; it was priceless. I’m going to start calling myself Norwegian-American. Oh wait, no I’m not, that’s fucking ridiculous.

    BTW, there are no African central bankers about to destroy the world, or keep people in debt slavery, or keep the world in endless war to as to make debt slaves of nations. People in Africa will continue living like they always have for centuries, like the Amish, and will only be affected when the nuclear fallout drops on them from the clouds of our destruction.

    1. AWD

      So you are saying my own genetics and cultural upbringing makes my statement about all people born into America having the capacity to succeed is actually hopelessly naive?

      Doesn’t the success of millions of black people in our society fly in the face of your argument?

  20. Administrator:

    We live in a very regulated society. If you have travelled across this country in an automobile and visited the urban areas there is one thing that stands out like a neon light. All the sameness of housing sub-divisions and shopping centers that have the same corporate features. THIS WAS ALL PLANNED! Where does the American dream fit in all this artificial infrastructure?

    You say you believe that every person born into this country has the capacity to succeed in life. How does that equate with the type of life someone else is ramming down your throat? The people planning how this country is to be laid out are not thinking diversity for a diverse population. They have been thinking their own selfish desires. That is not America my friend. Eveyone has been forced into a lifestyle that is the same all over this country with corporations running everything; even the government. You are wrong that government policies have made it difficult for millions to get ahead. Corporations with their lawyer army have captured government and made it work for them. It is not a government of the people anymore. It is corporate policies written into government that have made it difficult for millions to get ahead.

    And yes, I believe there is something genetic involved with each race. This is where diversity comes in that corporations being fictions are not capable of.

    These people living in those 30 blocks of squalor are stuck there. They are quiet because they are getting government subsities. They would starve and riot without them. They have been domesticated by government subsity just like our dogs & cats are. They are really in the same boat as our dogs & cats. They have no other place to go. Hard fact to swallow; isn’t it, but it is true.

  21. AWD said: “BTW, there are no African central bankers about to destroy the world, ”

    Gideon Gono did quite a number on Rhodesia, err I mean Zimbabwe.

  22. [email protected] says:


    No. I meant “Obama’s America” because it is his administration that is creating the structure to make it absolutely impossible to change the course that, admittedly, LBJ and FDR put us on.

    These guys think they will create a Utopia, where the enlightened few will benignly guide us ignorant rubes. This has resulted in hell on earth EVERY time it has been tried, witness Detroit/the 30Blocks/Los Angeles/Atlanta/Chicago and every other city ruled by the Democrats for 50 years, as well as China/Russia/Cambodia/Cuba, but hey! Far be it from me to tell my betters how the world should run.

    The fundamental corruption of America is the notion that you can get something for nothing and that all lunches are free. Of course, this flies in the face of reality, of the laws of mathematics and of physics, but we are not a people to bow down to the rules of casuality. No!!! This is America and it is OWED us!!! Rah!! Rah!!

    The self-deception will continue until it can’t, and then it will be a very bad day for a great many people. I am doing all I can to make sure that I ain’t one of ’em and I advise you to do the same.

    I would be interested to hear your theory about how Repubs are directly and overtly destructive. Sheeit, the Repubs can’t legislate themselves out of a wet paper bag.

  23. Admin:

    Yes, certain black people have “seen the light” and accepted European/American values, but not all, by any means. All I’m saying is there are two sets of values, that these values have existed for centuries, and will not change, no matter our education system, government, media, or any and all efforts to get them to conform. They don’t want to conform. Many, many people, and many white people, value laziness and taking that which they have not earned, because people (politicians) have been more than willing to provide everything for them. They would not succeed, become educated, or work even if they had to. They will rob, steal and take what they want.

    I like T-birds “domestication” analogy. Only thing is, domesticated animals are usually eaten or serve some purpose. Not so with domesticated Americans.

  24. HZK: I agree with you that Obama and the current regime is working hard to make a bad situation permanently terrible, by ossifying the welfare system that rewards only political cronies and some hereditary 0.1% types. (Incidentally, this is better described as fascism or national socialism rather than communism or garden variety socialism.) Like giving a bucket of KFC to the bariatric patient an hour before surgery, it provides what the person thinks they want with some horrible consequences they may not recognize before it’s too late.

    However, I was stating that the decay we see now, and have seen since Obama was a so-called community organizer, dates mostly to LBJ and somewhat less to FDR, the two idiots who signed our major welfare laws into effect.

    America’s desire to get something for nothing dates back at least to Mark Twain’s childhood if not before.

    As for Republicans, I honor them with Iraq War 2.0, five decades of military-industrial complex, various government shutdowns, the repeal of Glass-Stegall, Newt’s wonderful impeachment of Clinton while Newt had his own affair going on, etc. etc. I suppose I could come up with better examples with some more thought.

    I agree on the direction this country is heading and rest assured I’ve taken precautions.

  25. Is this guy working hard, saving and getting ahead, or is he a self-satisfying idiot who will forever be dependent on somebody else (like most Americans nowadays?)


  26. Everyone is also born with free will. Being a penniless loser is an act of free will. Is being a billionaire also an act of free will?

  27. Couple quick suggestions.

    1) You have enough material to turn those Squalor posts into a book. It would be an instant best seller in the Philly area. Obama might tap you to be his new Urban Renewal Czar.

    2) You might consider moonlighting for the West Philly Board of Realtors. You have what … 300,000 readers a month? That’s a solid book of business there.

    Serious question. You ever drive through Camden? I hear it makes West Philly look good … read a few articles calling it THE worst city in Amerika.

    1. Stuck

      I have driven through Camden. It makes West Philly look like Shangri La. Maybe the Muslim terrorists will detonate a nuclear bomb in Camden. It would be an improvement.

      The post at the very bottom of the library cracked me up.

      I also have a fondness for the post about Bin Laden driving a cab on the 30 Blocks of Squalor.

  28. You know what would bring down slums, shitholes, and Amerca’s cities of squalor faster than anything else (short of losing their entitlements)?

    Legalizing drugs…

  29. European nations have poor people. Oh, yes.

    European nations provide as much — if not more — of a social net than the USA.

    However, you won’t find a city anwhere on that continent that looks like W Philly. Not one. Why??

  30. Stuck:

    I always wonder that also. There are blacks in England, but they are nothing like blacks here. They don’t have the slave/victim mentality. Victims always blame somebody else for their problems, circumstances, and outcomes. They never take personal responsibility for themselves or anything they do. Sound familiar? Politicians get more money for entitlements, hand-outs, housing projects and the other $16 trillion spent because they are rectifying a situation in which people have supposedly been victimized.

    Which is why I like my African friends so much. They aren’t victims, they are proud, happy, interested in learning, and are normal in all respects. Being a victim is a pathology that destroys the individual, and makes them dependent on somebody else.

  31. Very good answer, AWD.

    Just to be clear, I am not just talking about poor blacks in Europe. I’m talking about poor Italians, poor Romanians, poor Hungarians, etc. etc.

    I will post my own modest thoughts later this evening.

  32. Doug Casey with a word that describes Phila and the United States:

    Ineptocracy (in-ep-toc’-ra-cy): a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

  33. We can throw all the money, PhDs, politicians, unions, work rules, criminalization of human behavior and whatever else the “smart” guys decide and it won’t change a damn thing until one of two possible things happen.

    1. The people that live in squalor and crime decide they deserve better and realize that the only person that can “fix” the problem is themselves. I’m not holding my breath.


    2. Apocalypse and the dawn (re-dawn, actually) of a new age where you work to feed yourself or you starve.

    That’s it.

    I really don’t see an in between.

    A couple months ago a Bloomberg magazine (BusinessWeek or some other) ran a story on the coming Renaissance of Detroit. They showed a cute graphic showing all the “great” things that are/have happened in the past couple years.

    What the story neglected to tell, and actually went out of their way to lie about, was that in the past 15 years, Detroit has had THREE different times where their impending rebirth was afoot. As much, or more, money was spent in years past.

    Detroit has had six casinos built, two sports stadiums, three or four corporate headquarters and dozens of revitalization or new buildings/houses built over the past 15 years. Meanwhile the working continue to flee and those that don’t care if they live in filth and crime stay.

    Craziness continues until it can’t. No “solution” presented by EITHER side fixes the underlying problems.

    The whole fucking thing makes me sick, and sad. And afraid, very afraid.

  34. ha ha ha! good ol’ slums of Illadelf! how I miss thee. Oh how many times during the SUMMER OF 99′ did us Po’ teen suburbanites have to traverse over the river (we knew waaaay better than to go to Camden) to get a dimebag of shwag on Reese St
    Adim- I may have you beat. Here in Sunny SoFla, on the SEC of W Broward Blvd & Palm Ave there WAS a low income housing project on that block (check the bird’s eye aerial on Bing)… it was gated off for sometime. until it was recently torn down 🙁 but don’t worry, the site is now being re-developed. it will now serve its highest and best use- MULTI STORY LOW INCOME APTS! YAAAY! I call the evolution of this low income development THE RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES. ha ha ha!

  35. One of the place we lived when we first came here was the 4th floor of a 3-story apartment. It was a “converted” attic. It had a toilet but no bath/shower. My mom used to bath me in the oversized sink — I was a lot smaller back then. It was pretty much a dump.

    But a couple of times a week my mom would sweep the stairs from the 4th floor down to the first floor. Then she would sweep the walkway to the house and also the sidewalk. Then she would sweep the street in front of the 7-unit house/apartment.

    When people asked her why she did this –actually they asked my dad who spoke English and he told them — the answer was, “Just because we’re poor doesn’t mean we have to live like pigs.”

    Pride and Self Respect ….. in yourself and in your neighborhood …. THAT’S why you don’t see slums in Europe. IMHO

  36. Alas, Stucky, you do see slums in Europe. They just aren’t right downtown. Suburbs of Paris – you know, the car-burning riot suburbs – are one example. Most cities in the UK other than London are another. And the lazy, useless people living in the UK slums are a mix of native (give or take a millennium) and more recent immigrants. (In France it’s nearly all more recent immigrants.)

    Common thread – massive welfare state that makes being a lazy bum profitable. Especially if you’re a young lazy slut who gets knocked up repeatedly. Does that ring a bell?

    I think your parents had several opposing things going for them:
    -survivors of a nasty war – probably gives you a fresh outlook
    -Austrian – aka “The PERFECT Germans” – I’ll bet Austria’s slums are cleaner than US suburbs
    -Immigrants are usually more hardworking because they were motivated enough to immigrate (this doesn’t seem to hold true in Europe where immigration seems to be driven by welfare opportunities instead of business and employment opportunities)
    -Not much welfare in the US back then if I understand your age

  37. I appreciate the input Snicky. I obviously haven’t been to every city in Europe … even so, I highly doubt one would find anything resembling West Philly, Detroit, Camden, etc.

    I have traveled extensively throughout Austria. There are NO slums.

    Well good night, sir!

  38. You know, Admin, I see a theme emerging from today’s threads.

    It is about choices, free will, the ability to gather data, analyze the benefits and disadvantages and make smart decisions.

    We don’t really do that as a society anymore, do we?

    People who live in 30 blocks of squalor all made choices that brought them to that address. They did. No amount of money, or dedicated resources will get ’em out. Not until they are able to reflect on their life choices, and learn from past mistakes and use that information to change behavior in the future, will they ever get out.

    You were capable of making decisions based on a set of values, and weigh your choices based on analysis of data. What you knew to be true from your life experience (stable loving family, hard work, goal oriented) was replicated and you achieved the desired results.

    We all make mistakes, but people who live in 30 blocks of squalor anywhere in the USA all made similar bad choices.

    That doesn’t mean we give up on them. We can donate to food banks, give to Catholic charities that serves their needs. Caring for others in need is the right thing to do.

    But as resources dwindle, fewer of us will have the means to make these donations.

    The people who live in 30 blocks of squalor – for the first time in their lives – are soon going to be on their own.

    Not a commute I’d wanna make when that day comes.

  39. “People who live in 30 blocks of squalor all made choices that brought them to that address.”

    Not necessarily. MM, I love all your posts, but here I disagree somewhat.

    My parents certainly did not choose to become poor refugees. The war came to THEM, not the other way around.

    Not to be Mr. Obvious, but no human being ever born made a choice to be born. Two other people made that choice for them. So, a child born into poverty (or, riches) had no choice in the matter. Then the way they were raised, bad habits or good habits, also was not their choice. And by the time they are of age to actually make independent choices … well, those choices will largely be dictated by everything that happened before. Maybe that’s why poor parents raise poor children who become poor adults. They do, indeed, make their choices …. sort of.

    But all is not lost! This is clearly the case because SOME poor people rise above their humble beginnings. And some rich people squander everything.

    I would only change your sentence slightly to read as follows; — “People who live in 30 blocks of squalor all made choices that KEEP them AT that address.”

    Your thoughts?

  40. Stucky: “People who live in 30 blocks of squalor all made choices that KEEP them AT that address.”

    That qualifier is probably more accurate.

    But I think we still need to address how the decisions we make bring us to a particular place. Can we possibly control how things turn out? Of course not. Are there exceptions? Absolutely.

    Do bad things happen to people of all strata all the time? Yes they do.

    But it is how we act when confronted with those circumstances that can oftentimes lessen the blow or achieve a better outcome.

    Take the whole pregnant without being married thing. A woman can make the choice to abort, to raise the child on her own, or to marry the Dad and try to make it work.

    If she chooses to raise the child on her own, her child stands a far more likely chance of being:
    -Unstable/school drop out

    Now, is it possible to raise a child on your own, instill values, try to build a good life thru hard work, education. Absolutely.

    But unless she makes major changes – becomes incredibly focused on rebuilding her life, getting an education so that she’ll have a career that will support her child, meeting and marrying a man that will provide stability in the home, the odds are against her and her child.

    We can all recover from unwise choices. It’s not a zero sum game.

    Shit happens all the time. But people who live in 30 blocks of squalor simply don’t have the skills or where-with-all to reflect on their lives and make the changes necessary to move their families to a better hood. Or, to transform their surroundings into a poor yet proud neighborhood.

    What does it take to buy a broom, sweep the front sidewalk and put the garbage in a bag? If the people living in 30 blocks are incapable of that, how the hell are they ever going to do the hard things like go to school, get a job, raise a child well?

    So, what I guess I’m saying is correcting the impact unwise decisions have on our lives is a skill that can be learned and practiced. The motivation would be acceptance of traditional values that honor sacrifice, hard work, and family,

  41. [email protected] says:

    @Mary M:

    Stop imposing your imperialistic, racist, colonial Western civ, Judeo-Christian values on them!!!! That the 30 Blockers can’t pick up the trash in their own yards or sweep their own porches is because you evil white people are always holding them down!!!!!

    I know personally of 1 million rednecks that work 24/7 to strew trash in these neighborhoods, block the kiddies from going to school or reading a book and hide all the birth control pills/condoms!!!

    Can’t you take off your Koch Brothers glasses and see that their refusal to take basic responsibility for their lives is a PROTEST against the white power structure? Whatever moral standards the 30 Blockers have is THEIR business. How amazingly elitist for you guys to hold them to the outdated standards of a bunch of dead white men!!!!!

    Gosh, how judgemental can you guys be???

    (just snarking at ya sis, lol)

  42. Well said, MM. We’re on the same page, for sure.

    Back when I was a young father I read lots of books on child rearing. One thing I read that stuck with me all these years is that a child’s habits and even personality are pretty much set in stone by the time they enter 1st grade. Some people don’t believe that. But, if it is true then that has some terrible (or good, depending on circumstances) implications.

    What REALISTIC chance in life does that child born to a crack-whore addict have in life? Virtually none. Not making excuses for anyone. But escaping from the shackles of one’s upbringing is exceedingly hard to do. That’s been my observation in life.

  43. Great thread.

    Just a few more thoughts. I remember in 2008, many whites voted for Obama. There was this implied assumption if a black man (well 1/2 black) was elected president, the highest honor, that blacks might finally accept European values and start “playing ball” like everyone else. Of course that didn’t happen. It just fostered more desire for entitlements and not having to pay bills. Which is why so many white people are disillusioned with Obama, well at least part of the reason, is because blacks still practice black culture. Amazing, Obama didn’t change that. He has, in fact, fostered it and progressed it.

  44. @Hope: Always love your posts – but the sarcasm dripping from them lately is hysterical.

    @Stucky: Yes, having loving parents who unselfishly dedicate their lives to loving and raising their children is the greatest gift a parent can provide. I thank God every day that I had/have that kind of start in life. It would be my bad if I screwed up my life.

    @AWD: Many people don’t realize that Blacks live in a parallel universe. The culture, language is totally different. The Black people I know who have achieved the American dream – accepted and embraced the traditional values of hard work, sacrifice, and family.

    Most of my neighbors are Black. Lovely people. The best neighbors you could ask for. All have strong families – Mom and Dads, college degrees, well-paying highly skill trades. Their homes are beautifully kept – they have tremendous pride and it shows,

    But over the years many have revealed the kind of stress they are under – far more than any white person could imagine. After 911, I was walking our dog and two of my Black neighbors were outside talking about the towers on fire, people fleeing for their lives. One of them said, “You know, it was typical for a white person to go back to their desk even after the plane hit. White people don’t think anything bad will ever happen to them.

    But the Black folks are running like hell, ’cause they know bad things happen all the time.”

    I think that quote captures the differences in experience, mind-set.

  45. Prolly just some clever ,well rehearsed scheme to get the taxpayers to, pny up soem more cah to ‘stop da’ violence.”
    That be my guess anyway…you decide.

    Caught on video: Massive brawl at notorious high school as parents demand it be SHUT DOWN

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2094184/Massive-brawl-Dekaney-High-School-Texas-parents-demand-shut-down.html#ixzz1l3zWrmgC

  46. see…. datwhat I’m sayin’….it da hunkie keeping da poor colored chillen’ down.


    MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A St. Paul teacher is on paid leave after being accused of racial discrimination in his own classroom.

    Parents of some black students said their children have faced discrimination for months at the Heights Community School.

    Latasha Tolbert said sixth grade teacher Tim Olmsted told her daughter that she’d be standing on the corner with a sign begging for money on the expressway.

    “He told the whole entire class that it is easier for him to teach rich white folks than poor black people,” Tolbert said.

    Tolbert said the discrimination started in her daughter’s class months ago. At the time, five of the students in Olmsted’s class were black. Tolbert said all of them were singled out at some point for the color of their skin.

    Meg Kane is an education attorney representing three of the families involved. She said none of the kids have been in trouble at school before.

    The children told Kane that all of them had to sit at the back of the class. Kane said Olmsted called them “fat, black and stupid,” and said such things as: “You will never amount to anything” and “You only have one parent.”


  47. [email protected] says:


    What the fuck is an education attorney? I managed to get through K-12, college, medical school and 6 yeas of medical training without one.

    Truthtellers ae often persecuted in their own time.

  48. People who profit from fucking up public education even worse than it is.
    maggots infesting rotted vermin is the best analogy I can conjure…


    While the big fights in Education Law seem to be over, with the principal of right to equal access being firmly established in the legal system, the role for lawyers in Education Law will continue. With the general rules in place, the fights now will be over the definitions and details. What constitutes adequate funding for schools? Can a rich suburb spend more money on its students than a poor rural or urban school districts? Does equal access require the profoundly handicapped to sit in all of the same classes as the �normal� students? Are advanced placement classes for gifted students the legal equivalent of remedial classes for the educationally deprived? Which handicapped students should be included in scholastic testing to ensure schools are performing to standards? Lawyers will continue to litigate to force questions like these to be considered and resolved.

    Lawyers will be approached by parents and activists to take on the individual cases of denial of access. Parents will question why their blind son or daughter is not allowed to take physical education classes for their safety. Why can one student have a Seeing Eye Dog and another be denied a dog to act as his ears in the same school district? Is it better to have someone read tests for a blind student or should the school provide the tests in brail. Should only deaf students be given instruction in the use of ASL or should all students be given access to that instruction? Is bilingual education better equal access than remedial English classes?

    Educational Law, and the lawyers that practice it, will continue to be a part of the educational system for the foreseeable future. While many will question the costs of their litigation and the increased costs that accrue to the school systems, lawyers will continue to be a necessary part of that system to ensure that every student has a fair and equal access to the educational system.

  49. I was surprised to see an area I am totally familiar with on the internet and am in the process of reading all of your articles about Philly. I lived in Upper Darby along the West Chester Pike and worked as an estimator for a general contractor located nearby. I often traveled the route you did in and out of Philly to visit bid sites and architects offices and for social trips to restaurants and clubs. I know the L and the ‘establishments’ that line it’s route. I also got to north Philly, into similar neighborhoods there. I lived there for from 2002 to 2005 in an apartment complex after my divorce.

    I enjoy your writings and observations and can relate to Bandstand and punch cards…lol. I love the shops on South Street. I’m 67 and now live in Manila, Philippines. Believe me, there are places worse than the 30 blocks of squalor…lol.

  50. [email protected] says:


    I shoulda figgured.

    Hey! I think we need a NEW federal program, to assure “fair and equal access” so No Child is Left Behind, so American can be a “more perfect union”.

    Every child in America at birth is assigned their OWN PERSONAL LAWYER, paid for by the fed.gov of coures, to guide them through every little obstacle and sue for any little boo-boo on the playground. Or if the kiddie’s feelings get hurt by mean people.

    Yeah, that’s the ticket!!! We don’t need to burden our kids with the heavy mantle of personal responsibility, delayed gratification and hard work. After all, it’s not like anything of note in our country was ever created via those values!!!

    The proper role of government is to legislate an equal OUTCOME so that “everybody gets their fair shot”, dontcha’ know. We will need LEGIONS of lawyers to make sure this is so. It is a win-win!! The kiddies get to coast through life free of aggravation or hardship or an unkind word, we can expand fed.gov to infinity and the lawyers will have full employment forever and ever, amen. And the liberals will feel all warm and fuzzy for being compassionate and wise.

    Time to start my applications to law school and change my voting registration to Democrat. Ta Ta For Now!!!!

  51. Bill T

    I grew up in Collingdale and went to Monsignor Bonner. They announced its closing a few weeks ago. Eventually Upper Darby and West Philly will look like the slums of Manila. I’d give it 10 years.


  52. [email protected] says:


    You are entirely too optimistic in your example and timing. I lived for my junior year of college at University of Nairobi in Nairobi. Just outside the modern and quite pretty capital city is Mathare Valley. Look it up. It has been there so long it even has it’s own soccer team.

    It makes the Manilla slums look like Rodeo Drive.


  53. Dead body in a car with blood all over him. The police think the death is suspicious. Boy they have some real Sherlock Holmeses in that police force.

    Body found inside car in West Philadelphia

    WEST PHILADELPHIA – February 2, 2012 (WPVI) — Philadelphia police are investigating the discovery of a body in West Philadelphia Thursday morning.

    The body was found around 8:21 a.m. in the back seat of a Ford Taurus parked on the 5000 block of Ogden Street.

    Police say there was blood on the body of the male victim.

    The death is currently being investigated as “suspicious”, though the exact cause of death is not yet known.

    The victim’s identity has not yet been determined. The only description is that of a black male.

  54. Unfortunately, Admin…you could be correct. Many of the houses I saw in the area of Philly you are talking about were held up by sheer willpower of the residents and not much else. Here in Manila, the city is slowly relocating the worse slum dwellers to public housing outside the city. It is amazing to see a slum like in your picture right beside a 60 story new condo tower or just across the street from the US approved hospital near my condom, but they are there. However…I am not afraid to walk there up until say 10 pm because they are not violent, just poor. I may have my pant leg pulled by a 5 year old with his hand out, but nothing more threatening. Of course, just like Philly, there are many areas I would not go into after dark.

  55. How thick is your bubble?

    Charles Murray’s latest book talks about the two speed society America is devolving into.

    If you won the Ovarian lottery & were born into a family earning $96K/year, your odds of graduating college are 1 in 2. However, If you were born into a family making $36K/ year 1 in 17.

    Factory jobs paid on average 2x as much as service sector jobs. When we disassembled our manufacturing base in America, we began to disassemble the middle class. Our public schools, once bastions of political patronage, have underperformed for decades. We have done nothing to fix them. We do nothing to educate our young people to be productive members of society. Virtually all Vo-tec programs have been eliminated under the false assumption that all we need are business, art history, computer gaming or sports management majors

    West Philadelphia is simply a manifestation of the bad decisions our business & political leaders have made over the past 50 years. It is wrong to blame the victim.

    As JHKunstler says ” we replaced an economy based on making useful things with one based on swindles & frauds”.

  56. I just finished reading all your 30 squalor post. All I can say is awesome. You should compile them in a book. Sorry Thruthiness but your ovarian analogy isn’t working for me. My Dad came from a family of eleven with several going on to university. They grew up poor but somehow they all made it through school. My solution to problem is to send the ones that are useless to arctic islands (Canada has lots of them) and let them fend for themselves. I’m tired of apologists making excuses for these thugs.

  57. Truthiness

    Admin tries to read all comments on threads to his posts. Occasionally, he stumbles and says, “I agree with your post,” as he did with yours. He’s trying to cut back on his daily intake of valium, but there are lapses.

    You said, with my response in caps:



    “Virtually all Vo-tec programs have been eliminated under the false assumption that all we need are business, art history, computer gaming or sports management majors.” NOW YOU’RE TALKING, TRUTHY. ONE OUT OF THREE AIN’T BAD.

  58. I’m thinking that wouldn’t be a great seller and not a great idea safety wise either. People, black and white would likely be on hand to welcome you when you got out of car. The black community has to bear responsibily for this alone. Truthiness and his apologist friends are hoping that someday they (the blacks) will forgive us for slavery. It’s hard subject to broach without coming off as racist but you have it in this blog. It’s sad that the only people that can talk about it in MSM are people like Chris Rock and Bill Cosby. Even then the truth hurts a little too much. I recall the negatives hurled at Dr. Cosby some years back. Not to fear the lazy white people are figuring this out too. White crack whores here in Nova Scotia are banding together with their black compatriots to produce a new generation of more ethnically diverse gangsters.

    The government should cut off all the money to these people. Level a block in each city and put up huge building with soup kitchen. Feed them three square meals a day and nothing else.

  59. “After 60 years of Democratic Party rule, the city is a shambles. ”

    ah, there we go, not like the Republicans generaly side w/Wall street and Big Box companies, ignoring middle AMerica for worries overseas. Not like, somehow, part of destruction is their fault or anything. Or that during the first 4 yrs of his reule, GW Bush did not raise Govt spending (domestic, not bombs) 43%. Bill Moyers quipped in 2004, after 4 yrs of Bush and the campaign rhetoric, that he thought LBJ came back and reincarnated as Bush……but those are GOP, so, nothing to see here…….
    Lets really face it, Hudge nad Gudge (Big Buis, Big Govt) have colloded into one Party and we the people are left out of the elitist love fest……….

    1. The facts about Phila are the facts. Republicans have had no say in the administration of Phila for 60 years. Every policy, program, tax, and regulation in the city of Phila was instituted by the Democratic Party.

      Reality is a bitch, even if you don’t like it.


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