30 BLOCKS OF BACK TO SCHOOL

by Jim Quinn, The Burning Platform:

“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.

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As 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 puttingArmy, 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.

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