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Obscured American: Patrick the Ex-Computer Programmer
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Patrick in Kensington, 2016

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This week, a 55-year-old tourist from Texas was killed when he fell onto the subway tracks at 13th Street Station. He and his wife had just visited the Liberty Bell. Going by the station the next day, I half expected to see some sort of memorial, but there were no flowers, cards or candles. I was heading to Kensington, a place I have written about repeatedly, the last time ten months ago.

Kensington is always in the news for the wrong reasons. So far this year, there have been 34 assaults, 7 rapes and 2 homicides, but summer is still nearly a month away. As a prosecutor once joked to me, “There’s a correlation between ice cream consumption and crime!”

On May 10th, a woman who had been beaten to death was found in an abandoned Kensington home, then two days later, a video surfaced of a Kensington crowd casually watching a man repeatedly punching a woman lying on the street. Some even laughed. The man who filmed it said he didn’t want to intervene because “it’s dangerous out here.”

On the sidewalk, there was a canopy, the kind erected for food tables during block parties, but this communal gesture is rather farcical in context, for the community not only failed to stop the assault, it didn’t even make the assailant hesitate out of shame or fear. It was somehow natural for him to attack a woman in front of his neighbors. Two men and two women stood under the canopy to watch the violence.

Walking down Kensington Avenue, I noticed that all the Vietnamese barbershops have jacked up their cheapest haircut from five to six bucks. At Jack’s Famous Bar, a pitcher of Yuengling has also gone from $3.50 to $4. Still, these are rock bottom prices. Some overheard bits from Jack’s:

“When I was in detox, I was the only one there for alcohol. Everybody else was there for heroin!”

“When you hear an ambulance around here, you know what it’s for.”

“I told her there ain’t nuttin’ in the pina colada mix you buy in the supermarket. You have to get your own shit to mix with it.”

“That’s Madonna from the 70’s. That woman is as old as me!”

As is common in bars for old heads, the songs are often nostalgic and speak of loss. “He said he’s goin’ back to find / Ooh, what’s left of his world / The world he left behind / Not so long ago.” Well, there is no going back to a Kensington of half a century ago, for its factories are all gone.

This old Irish neighborhood has seen influxes of blacks, Puerto Ricans, Dominicans and Vietnamese. More recently, yuppies and hipsters have crossed into its southern edge. There are also quite a number of drug addicts from all over. This day, I met a worn out young woman from Texas and a 54-year-old man from Maine. With his bearish built, ruddy face and lush, white beard, Patrick would make a perfect Santa Claus.

Each day, you’ll find him panhandling at Kensington and Westmoreland, across from the Korean-owned J&J diner. After ten years in Florida, Patrick came to Philly to have better access to drugs. Since he doesn’t drink, Patrick balked at my suggestion to go to Jack’s Famous Bar, so we ended up sitting in J&J, with him sipping a tall glass of milk, and me finishing all too quickly half a pot of coffee. Speaking mostly of despair, Patrick often seemed disdainful. If a man really wants to lie down and dissolve, there’s nothing anybody can do, but I sure hope to see Patrick again.

I left Maine. I wanted something different. I had a friend in Jacksonville, Florida, and things were pretty good for a while, then I discovered crack.

It was crack until about five years ago, and it has been dope since. I’ve been on the streets for almost two years.

I’ve been clean, on and off, for the last twenty years, but this is the longest stint I’ve been using, you know, every day. Ten to fourteen bags a day, usually, sometimes more. Each bag costs ten bucks.

Standing there panhandling, I average about a hundred bucks a day. It all goes to dope pretty much. Since October, I figure I’ve gotten $20,000 just standing there.

Saturday, I made about 180. The day before Christmas, I made almost 300. The day before Easter, I made almost 200. The worst day out here is 50, 60 bucks.

A hundred a day is nothing. I made six figures. At one job, I made 400 a day sitting at a desk playing with a computer. A hundred a day standing there ain’t no big deal.

I think it’s pathetic when people say a hundred a day is great money. That’s sad. You need a new fuckin’ job! That’s fuckin’ minimum wage!

I’m a computer guy. Freelancing, I make a hundred an hour.

I’ve been a computer guy since I was 12. I discovered the computer back in 1973, in 7th grade. I’m pretty good at it.

I have a spot behind Dunkin Donuts. I have a sleeping bag there. I sleep outside.

I haven’t had anything bad happen here. Kensington ain’t half as bad as people think it is.

I get my dope from right around the corner.

Any situation someone is in, it’s incumbent upon them to change it. Me included. I mean, I’m just stuck.


I’d rather be fuckin’ dead, plain and simple. I’ll give you an example. Last June, I shot a bundle of dope, took a couple of bennies, with the intention of not waking up. When I did wake up, I couldn’t stand up. Somehow I wound up with a pinched sciatic nerve in my vertebrae. I’ve been in pain ever since. It’s been almost a year. This is the first time I’ve ever done that, doing dope for the pain. Before, I was just doing dope to do dope.

When I get a decent chunk of change, I’ll try it again. Take more bennies, and more dope. I’m fuckin’ tired.

If I had a gun, I’d blow my brains out, but I don’t have a gun.

My mom is in Maine, but I won’t go back there, because there’s nothing up there. There’s a lot of appeal, but appeal doesn’t pay the bills. The economy is pathetic. I can’t get dope. I can’t get this situation dealt with. I’d be in pain every fuckin’ day.

I wake up every day, it’s the same routine. I’d rather be dead. I’m really tired of it.

I’m here for one fuckin’ reason. There’s dope right there. That’s the only fuckin’ reason I’m sitting in Kensington. There’s no other reason to be here!

I’m not from here. The place is a shit hole. It serves only one purpose. Dope!

Our medical system is a joke. I know people who get pills, prescriptions for pain pills, whatever, and they sell them, OK? I have a legitimate pain, and I can’t even get one. That’s how fucked up our medical system is. It’s pathetic! Across the board, it’s fuckin’ pathetic.

People like me, they want to put on Methadone or Suboxone… so I want to be a slave to you?! I’d rather be a slave to dope!

You want to be a slave to government, for real?! Last time I read about slaves in government, it was Nazi Germany!

Fuck government! Government doesn’t do anything right. They spend a lot of money to fuck things up. That’s all government has ever done in our country, and probably historically.

I don’t want the government in my life! They’re in my life enough!

Those pills are a substitute for heroin. I can get heroin anywhere, any time. To get Methadone, you have to play their games. You have to be here at this time, you have to attend these groups. No, no, no!

I’m a Libertarian. I believe in pure, unadulterated freedom. It doesn’t mean you’re free to kill people and rape or burn houses. That’s not what freedom is.

Get out of my life! Let me live my life!

I’ve been a Libertarian ever since I discovered that being a Democrat was for idiots.

I’m proud to say I’ve never voted for a president that won.

My first election, I voted for Carter, but he was too honest and had integrity. That’s not good.

I voted Democrat till the mid 80’s. I voted for Ross Perot in the early 90’s. I haven’t voted a number of times, because why do I want to waste my time when there’s nothing worth voting for?

I’m a Ron Paul fan. I saw him on my birthday… back in 2012, whatever it was. It was in front of Independence Hall. I stood there in the rain for three hours, on my birthday. It was fun.

Yeah, I’m a Ron Paul fan. I’m a Rand Paul fan.

Hillary… if that cunt gets elected, I’ll kill myself for sure. I’d like to see someone kill her. She’s an evil whore, an evil bitch. He’s evil, and his bitch is evil.

People need to look at who these people really are. Do you know how many people have died because of them? You have Benghazi, which everyone seems to have forgotten about. She’s a piece of shit. I mean, people have been murdered. You know, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, people close to them were getting ready to say stuff, OK, but they conveniently committed suicide, shot gun blast through the back of the head. I don’t know any shot gun where you’re capable of killing yourself by holding the trigger back here… Why go through all that trouble, first of, let alone it’s not possible.

Nobody seems to care. Yeah, I want to live in a world, and in a country, where no one gives a fuck.

Yeah, everybody says, “Don’t kill yourself! Don’t kill yourself!” but what the fuck is there to live for… in this shit hole?

I’m 11th generation. My ancestors came here in the early 1600’s. They were the founding fathers of Hampton, New Hampshire.

My 4th great grandfather, in my direct line, was in the Battle of Bunker Hill, OK? On any given day, I wish my 8th great grandfather’s ship had sunk on the way over here. Or any of my other great grandfathers, take any of them out of the picture, and I don’t exist, plain and simple. Without any of those people surviving, I don’t exist, as I am right this second.

Yeah, look at what we’ve got! Thanks, grandpa!

If they could see what our government has become, they wouldn’t have wasted their time 200 years ago. They’re turning over in their fuckin’ graves.

Go down to Independence Mall, stand in the grass, look at Independence Hall and think about the 1700’s and the American Revolution, and how cool all that was, then look this way, then look that way. One of them says DOW! The other one says Wells Fargo!

Yeah. Wow.

Government of the people, by the people, for the people? Fuck no!

You mean these assholes are taking jobs to make $200,000… when they could be doing more, elsewhere? There has to be more to it. Well, there is, boys and girls, it’s called corporation, and they’re all fuckin’ whores to those corporations. Those corporations have sold out America, and the politicians have allowed them to sell out America. They have sent jobs overseas, so people my age… are trying to survive on minimum wage.


Minimum wage is meant for fuckin’ kids! I was making minimum wage in 1976, and that two dollars and something an hour had more buying power! I could get four packs of cigarettes for that $2.35. You can’t even get one for minimum wage today, and the minimum wage is almost three times more. Do the math. It’s fucked up!

People don’t give a fuck. Nobody cares enough to try. Nobody cares enough to unite. Two people ain’t gonna make a difference. Two million people might.

Everybody is like, Oh, I don’t want to miss… what’s Kim Kardashian wearing? What’s Kim Kardashian sticking up her ass? Whose black dick is she sucking tonight? Really, that’s all people care about. They care more about that whore than they do about their own fuckin’ neighborhood.

I don’t see how you can watch all that garbage. I don’t watch any garbage, for real.

It’s been shit for as long as I’ve been alive, but I was ignorant. When I was in high school, I was ignorant to what was going on in the world, so everything appeared fine. With my perception, everything was great, but reality wasn’t.

I’ve read some, but not as much as I should have. There was a 50-day period where I read 26 books, eight of them by David Baldacci, who I thought was pretty good. Good stuff.

I had great jobs, then came the drugs, but I don’t blame the drugs, I blame me.

The girl thing and the drug thing are real entwined, and I’ve been a social retard for most of my life, so to satisfy the lust, I got hooked on drugs.

No, I’ve never been married. I’ve never had a long term girlfriend. I was a social retard. I don’t think I’m weird, it’s just that I’ve never been good in that department. I don’t know.

I don’t think I’m picky. I don’t want some ugly, 500-pound beast. Who the fuck does? Am I suppose to settle for whoever the fuck wants to sit on my face?

I just want to be happy. I just want someone who gives a fuck about me, you know, someone who’s not materialistic and phony and all that bullshit. I don’t want drama! I don’t think any of that’s asking for too much. I think that’s probably pretty normal, what people want, you know.

Now that I’m out here, I’m probably not going to find me a girlfriend, ha ha, unless I settle for a Kensington mail order bride, a whore du jour, right over there!

A lot of people have perceptions that drug addicts are these types of people, but drug addicts can be anybody, your uncle, your sister, your brother, your nephew, your niece, your next door neighbor, your mailman. I used to think it was only these people, and you’re all weak, the crack thing and stuff, until I tried it, then I knew that everything I had thought about it was wrong.

There are people that come down here from the suburbs, then five or six years later return home. They were just coming down for the weekend, or just coming down to get some, and got stuck. Or came down and never made it back home because they’re dead. I’ve known of more people that have died down here than I’ve ever known in my entire life, elsewhere.

The ones that overdosed, I envy them, because why the fuck can’t I overdose? I’d overdose, and ten minutes away from being done, and someone would fuckin’ find me. I’d wake up in a fuckin’ hospital!

I’ve overdosed three times.

Of the people who give me money, the best, over all, are the Hispanic women, then Hispanic men, white women, black women. Black men and white men are the worst.

I pay attention to that. Being a computer guy, I look at numbers and stuff.

The ones that you think would, don’t, and the ones that you think don’t, do.

I also have repeat customers, so to speak.

I’m nothing special, but there is a certain type of person that people expect to be doing that, and I don’t fit that. I’m not some fuckin’ lifelong bum. I’ve been homeless a couple of years. I don’t get in people’s face. I don’t ask anybody for anything. I stand there. If someone wants to give me money, help me out… There is nothing on that sign that isn’t true.

People would ask me, “Where do you live? Where is your house?” I’d go, “Dude…”

Anybody who’s going hungry, really, if you have to beg to eat, you’re really a fuckin’ moron.

There are people that stand there that say they’re homeless that live right around the corner.

I have people tell me I can’t be homeless because of the sneakers I wear, but people give me stuff. Everything I’m wearing was given to me.

People give me food, all day long. People have bought me meals at this diner.

I read… I look at the Bible, and it’s great fiction, as far as I’m concerned. I mean, in the 1690’s, we were hanging women in Salem, Mass, for being witches, for Christ’s sake. You’d think people would be less naïve than they were in 1692. It amazes me how people would read something and just believe it. The Bible says X Y Z, so it’s X Y and Z. Really, you’re that naïve? You’re that numb? There can’t be more to it, or less to it?

Just because some humans wrote these words in a book you call the Bible, you believe it?

I never went to church. My parents never forced it upon us, which is why I believe people are the way they are. It was forced upon them.

My mom is Russian, but English is the side of my surname, Blake. That’s me.

My mom is actually from this shit hole, not Kensington, but Philly. It has nothing to do with me being here, though. I’m just here for the dope.

Linh Dinh is the author of two books of stories, five of poems, and a novel, Love Like Hate. He’s tracking our deteriorating socialscape through his frequently updated photo blog, Postcards from the End of America.

• Category: Culture/Society • Tags: Obscured American, Poverty 
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  1. ‘… My mom is in Maine, but I won’t go back there, because there’s nothing up there. There’s a lot of appeal, but appeal doesn’t pay the bills. The economy is pathetic. I can’t get dope. I can’t get this situation dealt with. I’d be in pain every fuckin’ day…’

    Can’t get dope in the only NE state that didn’t go Trump? Hmmm

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  2. Jason Bayz says: • Website

    Are you sure he’s really an ex-programmer? People like to make stuff up.

    • Replies: @JackOH
  3. gruff says:

    He seems unhappy.

    • Replies: @bomag
  4. anon • Disclaimer says:

    Oregon has Death with Dignity; (along with Washington, Vermont and California) This guy may like to consider.

  5. JackOH says:
    @Jason Bayz

    Jason, stories of massive, long-term reversals of personal fortune aren’t rare, but you do have to look for them, and sort of abstract them from the background “noise”.

    A few examples from personal observation: (1) the onetime international corporate IT guy with a very strong academic background, who, last I saw him, was living probably on one-quarter his former income and the occasional charity of family; (2) a local courier service staffed mostly by former steelworkers who’d once earned about double in the 1970s what they earned as couriers in the 1990s; (3) any number of skilled tradesmen working as apartment handymen for a fraction of their former pay; (4) engineers and scientists who’d been downsized from private industry, and were working as “permanent adjuncts” for half or less of their former pay.

    A local newspaper account told of a guy living in a homeless shelter who claimed to be a song writer. The police, who’d been questioning him and others, laughed at him. Turned out he was receiving small royalty checks, and one of his songs had been covered by Aretha Franklin.

    My point, I guess, is that Patrick’s self-description as a onetime computer guy isn’t necessarily implausible because he’s a homeless junkie.

    • Replies: @Seneca
  6. If I were dictator of this country Jack would be euthanized and ALL immigration would be halted for at least the next twenty years.

    • Replies: @anonymous
    , @anon
  7. I wish that guy the best.

    But I think he needs to find a different personal philosophy than Libertarianism. It’s not working for him.

    • Replies: @utu
    , @granesperanzablanco
  8. Rehmat says:

    Kensington is not doing worse than the rest of the United States of Mass Crimes.

    In the United States where it’s customary to have sexual relationship between the opposite and same genders from an early age – tops the rape chart according to government estimates followed by Africa and India.

    In 2010 study conducted by the ‘Center for Disease Control and Prevention’ stated that 1.27 million American women were raped – equivalent to one woman every 29 seconds – and 5.1 million were stalked – equivalent to one woman every 7 seconds.

    According to the ‘National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey 2010’ ; 18.3 % of women in the United States have survived a completed or attempted rape. Of these, 12.3% were younger than age 12 when they were first raped, and 29.9% were between the ages of 11 and 17.

    • Replies: @Wally
    , @Ace
  9. bomag says:

    Of the people who give me money, the best, over all, are the Hispanic women, then Hispanic men, white women, black women. Black men and white men are the worst.

    Hmm. Something there… inverse order of those capable of maintaining a community? But White men are madly flushing the US down the toilet, while Hispanics are pretty good at the extended family community.

    • Replies: @Linh Dinh
  10. bomag says:

    He seems unhappy.

    He clearly needs more drugs to achieve happiness.

    • Replies: @gruff
  11. Johann says:

    I grew up near Kensington and Weatmoreland and have not been back to neighborhood in years; this is a sad sad story. It once was a thriving neighborhood of hard working white people where Kensington avenue was lined with good stores and restaurants. As the novelist saysv”you can’t go home again” so true in the American Empire. The real story here is what drugs have done to this country as shown in the rambling incoherence of Patrick’s comments. I see the stupidity of American leaders as in the case of politicians like the present governor of Pennsylvania, Wolfie, doing cartwheels with his sorority as he signs the marijuana legalization bill for “medical” purposes just like OxyContin wink wink. Is America such a wretched society that it can only be tolerated by heavy drug usuuage? I was surprised to read that Jack’s Famous bar is still there, Linh. Is the Deluxe diner still on Kensington avenue? I don’t remember a diner at Kensington and Westmoreland, there was on at Kensington and Ontario,

    • Replies: @Linh Dinh
    , @Anonymous
  12. Lin-Din’s stories mostly induce me to stay the hellouta Philadelphia. And New Jersey. And New York. And Massachusetts. And Connecticut.

  13. Linh Dinh says: • Website

    Hi Johann,

    Yes, Jack’s is still going strong. In the daytime, you’ll find mostly older guys, while at night, the crowd tends to become younger and blacker, with the music changing accordingly. Mel, the owner, can still be seen there most days, and Patty is still cheerful, and sometimes dancing, behind bar. Here’s a report on Jack’s:

    The Deluxe Diner is gone.


  14. utu says:
    @Jon Halpenny

    “I think he needs to find a different personal philosophy than Libertarianism. It’s not working for him.” – Exactly! But it won’t happen. Libertarianism is for the dead enders, “bottomliners”. There is no salvation beyond it.

  15. Linh Dinh says: • Website

    Hi bomag,

    I’ve heard from many homeless people that black women are the most giving. In Richmond, VA, I saw a young black woman give some food to a white homeless man, a former nurse, and she did this no more than a couple of minutes after he had told me that black women are the most generous. In Philly, a young white woman claimed that black women were responsible for 90% of the money she received from passersby.

    Also in Philly, a middle-aged, white homeless man told me that he had been jumped ten times in ten years of being on the streets, and always by young black men. Black women, on the other hand, had always treated him well and given him money.


    • Replies: @animalogic
  16. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    You just put the wrong guy on death row, sickhead.

    Compared to the worthless commenters who have crapped on this article so far, Patrick is an oracle.

  17. There are millions like this guy. And probably three times as many at the edge of the abyss into which he fell.

    Very sad…very sad.

  18. KA says:

    There was in interesting news out of Flrida few days back. 7% of Floridans have been using shame day loan and have been victims of debt traps.
    Assuming that the unemployment is less than 7% , one has to wonder who these perennial
    s,always ” under the water”?

    Are they drawn from the unemployed pool or are they underemployed or seasonally employed sections of the Flridans? They must have some means to show that can can pay back .

    Nationwide picture can’t be rosier than this .

    • Replies: @Mem
  19. anon • Disclaimer says:

    No; I don’t like euthanasia; but support death with dignity. It should strictly be voluntary. And, why oppose successful people from moving in? Let better people check in and losers checkout; that is truly Darwinian.

  20. gruff says:

    I wonder how the costs would pencil out if we took all the junkies and put them in pods, like Japanese capsule hotels, put a permanent smack IV in their veins, monitored their vitals continuously to prevent overdose…oh yeah some nutriment supply and waste removal…just leave them in there. Given the decrease in crime, medical costs, law enforcement, etc., would it be cost effective?

    And would they get in the pods?

    • Replies: @bomag
    , @animalogic
  21. Wally says: • Website

    Why should anyone believe your survey?

    Especially when its in the financial / funding interests of the CDC’s National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey.

    Especially when it’s in women’s interest to lie about being raped.

    A lot to be gained in being a ‘victim’.

    Reminds me of the bogus ‘10% of people are homosexual’ fraud.

    • Replies: @Jefferson
  22. Man’s passions never change…doesn’t matter if it’s the bronze age or the industrial…Patrick has made a conscious decision to embrace greed…hatred…delusion..and bondage; instead of wholesome higher insights and the sustained mindfulness of Christs’ Holy Spirit.

    This plummeting of American morals [ our relationship with God ]; the loss of national wealth; the increasing of quarreling and susceptibility to crime; susceptibility to illness and poor health; loss of reputation and indecent conduct; indecent exposure; weakened insight and lower intelligence -are the wages of sin- the American Secular Humanist economy as it is intended to operate.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  23. Seneca says:

    I second your comment.

    Seen a lot of people fall through the cracks…What has happened to many people in this country during the last thirty years is so very sad.

    In some instances the fall is so dramatic and from such a height that it is stunning. Idiots who smirk have no idea the bad or unexpected cards (unexpected job loss, plant closings, spousal death, serious illness, etc…) some people get dealt.

    There but for the grace of God is a famous saying for a reason

    NAFTA and GATT (free trade with China) has been devastating to many communities.

    In my home town several factories were “literally” disassembled piece by piece and shipped to China and Mexico! And some workers were expected to help in the disassembly and shipping of the parts to China or Mexico!

    After which the products were than shipped back for these now jobless people living on their savings were expected to purchase.

    Fiendish arbitrage promoted by Wall Street who lack any blood or soil loyalty to the people has destroyed the country I grew up where anybody could get a good job out of high school. Starting in the late 1960s the Cooperate Raiders from Wall Street would purchase the factories from management who tried to resist moving overseas and make money from selling off the assets. See the movies “Others People Money” made in the 1980s staring Danny Devito for how it was done

    First factories moved to the Deep South and then they moved overseas

    For hundreds of years America prospered under Mercantilism (trade tariffs and keeping foreign products out) just like Japan, Korea, and now China is benefiting.

    The “New” Democrats like Clinton pushed these trade deals . He and the other members of the Democrat leadership abandoned the working class in exchange for a Cultural Marxist “Coalition of the Fringes” (Gays, Feminists, Non-Whites, and Single Women) and favors and money from Wall Street should burn in hell. Now his wife wants to continue these policies. The Wall Street libertarian wing of the Republican party went enthusiastically and joyfully along with it. A few (very few) traditional conservatives like Pat Buchanan or traditional liberals like Pat Moynihan wept.

    They are all guilty of treason in my opinion. The need to be arrested, tried, and convicted.

    I think you all know what the penalty for treason is .

    • Replies: @bomag
  24. I have noticed a lot of single serving booze bottles tossed away and lying on the ground lately, almost like a plague. You might expect to see this in a down at heel community, but these were, until recently, basic middle class communities.

    One of the local shopping malls is now slated for urban renewal, if we are lucky. It’s not alone. Ghost Malls are now a thing nation wide.

    These things reflect the decline of the middle class. Disney recently fired it’s IT staff in Florida after first making them train their H1b visa foreign worker replacements. Why hire a programmer like Patrick when you can more for cheaper from India? No healthcare, no pension, no union, just disposable workers.

    Patrick has been thrown away.

  25. JackOH says:

    Seneca, thanks, you got it, bro’.

    Years ago I’d thought of starting up a political movement appealing to unemployed and grossly underemployed educated folks. I scratched the idea, and one reason was that so many educated folks still believe they’re regarded as deserving bourgeois by their corporate and political masters. Not true. The political and corporate leaders I’ve known “lack any blood and soil loyalty”, they’re indifferent to even a minimal idea of community fellow-feeling, and they don’t care that they enjoy so little respect.

    “In conversations with [Podunk Tech] administrators, I have heard . . . [Podunk Tech] can replace any professor.” That’s from a startling letter from a mid-career prof published in my local university newspaper barely six weeks ago. Substitute any other line of suit-and-tie work for “professor”, and I think that speaks volumes about the power-drunk slugs we work for and who govern us.

    I concentrate on educated folks because I’m among them, and because so many, when they saw blue-collar jobs getting whacked, seemed to say to themselves, “I’m immune to job loss, I’m educated, I’m well-regarded in my profession, I’m civic-minded, etc.”

    Not sure about the “traitor” appellation for some of our leaders, but I’d welcome broadening and deepening the debate on a new constitutional convention. This version of the Republic seems to not be working. Thanks again, Seneca.

    • Replies: @Njguy73
  26. @Jon Halpenny

    It’s too bad he couldn’t write libertarian on his head when he ODs and the public safety folks couldn’t just let this loser exit the game

  27. bomag says:

    What I find astonishing is that there used to be a Left that warned us of exactly what you point to here.

    But one day Wall Street announced that they could now fund the welfare state, and almost all the old Leftists piled on with the current race war that threw the classic working class under the bus.

    • Replies: @Seneca
  28. bomag says:

    I used to have a link to a New Yorker article where Denver experimented with essentially housing and funding junkies. It seemed to work; cutting crime and other social costs in that cohort.

    In casual discussion I refer to this as “barracks on the edge of town” for the chronically dysfunctional. I suppose the similarity to internment camps is a little too unnerving for current consumption, but the worm turns.

  29. Anonymous • Disclaimer says: • Website

    “Is America such a wretched society that it can only be tolerated by heavy drug usuuage?”

    Short answer: yes.

    I say that as a person semi-from Eastern Europe where drugs are scarce and crappy who witnessed the current suburban drug craze in America. In Serbia it’s common to drink and smoke cigarettes, but harder stuff is practically unheard of. Marijuana is easy to find but very poor quality, and the police will arrest you and raid you unlike in Germany, the Netherlands or America.

    In America, au contraire, at least among the young, alcohol is something between too expensive and an old person’s drug, smoking cigarettes is only for the congenitally pretentious (or lower-class), but constant marijuana use (high-grade kush delivered in vacuum-sealed bags paid for with bitcoin) and constant pill-popping (adderall, vyvanse, modafinil, valium, etc.) is considered dope, dank and totally lit, bro.

    My conclusion was that weed and pills are the only way to effectively deal with the pointlessness, anomie and multiculti cognitive dissonance of the USSA. I guess we’ll find out what the societal costs are later.

    • Replies: @Ace
  30. Seneca says:

    Yes, it is shocking.

    But it took some enormously greedy and slick sociopaths like Bill and Hillary Clinton to get all the other Democrats on board.

    Likewise sociopathic and opportunistic Neoconservatives like Bill Kristol and others and Libertarian and idiotic true believers like Jack Kemp had to work to sweep traditional Paleoconservatives like Pat Buchanan and Steve Sailer aside to the fringe of conservationism and under the rug.

    Bernie Sanders represents the resurgence of the traditional left (concerned about the lower working classes) and Donald Trump the resurgence of the traditional right (concerned about the nation and all its citizens out of a sense of noblisse oblige).

    May God help them.

    Especially the Donald. He may let us down, but is the best option at this point in time.

    Sorry Bernie is too soft, naive, and simple in my opinion even though he is at least not corrupt (unlike Crooked Hillary) and seems to have his heart in the right place. He is also a bit of a hypocrite since he lives in a state which is like 99% White, yet mouths support for Blacks Lives Matter and is unwilling to call them on their reverse anti -White racism. I know ….I know he is doing this to please his Democratic base, but so what… White lives don’t matter? Gimme a break.

  31. Njguy73 says:

    “Except for the field organizers of strikes, who were pretty tough monkeys and devoted, most of the so-called Communists I met were middle-class, middle-aged people playing a game of dreams. I remember a woman in easy circumstances saying to another even more affluent: ‘After the revolution even we will have more, won’t we, dear?’ Then there was another lover of proletarians who used to raise hell with Sunday picknickers on her property.
    “I guess the trouble was that we didn’t have any self-admitted proletarians. Everyone was a temporarily embarrassed capitalist. Maybe the Communists so closely questioned by the investigation committees were a danger to America, but the ones I knew—at least they claimed to be Communists—couldn’t have disrupted a Sunday-school picnic. Besides they were too busy fighting among themselves.”

    – John Steinbeck, “A Primer on the ’30s.” Esquire, June 1960

    • Replies: @bomag
    , @JackOH
  32. Jefferson says:

    “Reminds me of the bogus ’10% of people are homosexual’ fraud.”

    Maybe that 10 percent Homosexual figure is for people in The Democratic Party, not America as a whole.

  33. bomag says:

    In Michener’s South Pacific he describes how the Chinese communists got almost everyone on board with their plan by convincing them that they were going to get a slice from the economic cohort just above them while keeping what they already had.

  34. JackOH says:

    Njguy73, thanks. ” . . . [G]ame of dreams . . . everyone was a temporarily embarrassed capitalist . . . couldn’t have disrupted a Sunday school picnic.” Yeah, agree. Those educated folks I mentioned see themselves as a temporarily distressed bourgeoisie. By gosh, America needs them, they still believe, despite the strong evidence to the contrary. They live on the therapeutic, manipulative rhetoric tossed out by the major parties, and continue to believe their frayed interview suits and outdated resumes will land them a decent income.

    There are also the faux proletarians. In my area they’re well-paid, do-nothing union bureaucrats, lay-about legislators who do sound-bite chirps for local media before falling asleep again, double-income households living large (relatively) in government jobs where they do “studies” to “help people”. They’re a clear impediment to dissent and change.

    My personal feeling for some time has been that our government and corporate leadership has been about as radical and destructive as can be imagined. Energetic, well-focused dissent may be a bridge too far. I’m looking at debt as a driver of crisis-style decision-making that re-orders things, and also at America’s inordinate health care costs, which are driven by Clarence Rorem’s awful idea from the 1930s Thanks again..

    • Replies: @guillermo
  35. artichoke says:

    Can’t this guy walk into a clinic and get a prescription for that pain? It seems that’s the main problem now. He thinks the prescription would be methadone or oxycodone. Is that right?

    If he didn’t have his drug habit swallowing up his panhandling income, he’d be able to get his feet under him.

    • Replies: @anonymous
  36. JackOH says:

    “Can’t this guy walk into a clinic and get a prescription for that pain?” Very unlikely, artichoke.

    My local Federally-qualified Community Health Center, which will accept cash patients, will refer a junkie complaining of chronic pain to a pain management clinic. Uninsured, Patrick will unlikely get an appointment with that clinic. In the event a social worker steers him to a homeless shelter so he’ll have a street address, and helps him get Medicaid, he still faces the question of which pain management clinic will accept Medicaid, and whether he’ll be further referred to detox. He’d have to swap the rough certainty of his current cash-and-carry self-medication for the uncertainty of holding himself out to be a pawn of government help.

    (I’m not an M. D., but I’m the guy who strongly promoted my local Federally-qualified Community Health Center, which eventually resulted in a local visit by President Bush that was covered by national media around 2005.)

    It’s worth asking whether Patrick would have been any worse off had he been a homeless junkie in 1916.

    • Replies: @artichoke
  37. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Stupid straw argument. Utterly pointless and meaningless. But you think it matters in your pinhead brain. Good for you. Somehow, you missed the entire point of the article, which reveals just how ignorant you truly are. The doper dude has more then a few rungs up on you.

  38. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Suspect you got this all wrong. Wait, I know you got this all wrong. Your high-mindedness and manufactured spirituality isn’t any more true then Patrick’s philosophy or assessment. In fact, yours is actually far less because it is all imagined, fabricated and made-up while you sit on a high cloud of judgement and imagined superiority. The sin you imagine is in your own mind – indifference while imagining your own “chosen status”. At least Patrick has an honest assessment while you don’t. You hide behind ancient superstition and false piety, the real fake is you. Therefore, I question YOUR so-called “morals” of falsehoods and indifference. You utterly failed to connect in any meaningful way, but did spout superstition nonsense, which makes you the hypocrite in the so-called holy book you worship.

    • Replies: @Stonehands
    , @Ace
  39. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Can’t this guy walk into a clinic and get a prescription for that pain?

    In many states, no. I have autoimmune arthritis, and the doctors I’ve seen laugh in my face when I suggest that I could manage better if I had access to narcotic pain killers for occasional use. The US health system is evil.

    • Replies: @JackOH
    , @Ace
  40. @Anonymous

    We are challenged to live God’s Word. It works. Christ’s sacrifice was sufficient for all- you, me and Patrick. While we are living; we make free-will decisions that are binding in eternity. It is a tough row to hoe scientifically [ DNA, the first ATP molecules etc.] or philosophically [ Love, purpose,inspiration, etc.] that God does not empathize with His fallen creation.

  41. Jefferson says:

    ““I told her there ain’t nuttin’ in the pina colada mix you buy in the supermarket. You have to get your own shit to mix with it.”

    Yes I like piña coladas and getting caught in the rain, I’m not much into health food, I am into champagne.

  42. JackOH says:

    “The US health system is evil.”

    I’ve assembled a publication-quality and very lengthy commentary on health care the past decade-and-a-half. A cancer scare and bad health care experience spurred me on. I’m an experienced writer, and, as a researcher, I try to check my worst biases. What I learned about how the funding and distribution of health care has been used to satisfy the narrowest political ends is appalling. Neither the academy nor journalists will challenge the dreary establishment narrative. (There are a handful of journalists and academics who’ve spoken out, probably no more than a dozen.)

    “The US health system is evil.” I can’t disagree. Thanks, anonymous.

  43. Ace says:

    Any idea of the race of the assailant and victim, Rehmat?

    Just for something to compare your usual commentary to, what is the country we should look to that gets it “just right”? The lode star on which we should keep our eye?

  44. Ace says:

    A most interesting comment.

    The soaring graphs of spending and public and private debt are emblematic of a polity that has lost its way. Millions want stuff and services but don’t want to look at the bill. Distill all political analysis down and that’s it. Free stuff. Worry about the Constitution’s being abandoned? Suppression of free speech? Parasitism? Subversion? Inundation of the people who built America by third-word invaders? Who cares? Look at the charts again.

    Similarly, drug use is evidence of the existence of “pointlessness, anomie and multiculti cognitive dissonance.” Behind the facade of late-stage Western civilization and decades of leftist subversion designed to destroy the rule of law, the family, and decency are an emotional desert and an inability of individuals to gain any traction or even know where to make one healthy step.

    The third graph could be one that tracks outflow of drugs from America to pay for the highs.

  45. Ace says:

    You don’t have to share Stonehands’s Christian beliefs to see that he has a pretty good take on our moral decay. If you could let loose of the familiar “Christians are judgmental boobs” you might be able to understand what he’s talking about.

  46. Ace says:

    Don’t blame the health care system where wariness about prescribing narcotic pain killers is concerned. Docs have to contend with rampant drug seeking, that’s rampant, and there are always the pain experts over at the Drug Enforcement Agency to provide helpful advice on how medicine should be practiced and prison sentences for any docs guilty of lese majeste

    • Replies: @anonymous
  47. guillermo says:

    Who’s Clarence Rorem?

    • Replies: @JackOH
    , @Njguy73
  48. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Reminds me that most panhandlers are just hustling for their next fix. This person seems to make quite a bit of money daily just by coming across as pathetic and helpless. If nobody gave him any money what could he then do? Would he be forced to drop the drug habit? The kindness of strangers is just enabling him in his drug dependency. It’s also impossible to tell who is genuinely needy and thus a person who could use a handout as opposed to the druggies whose money goes straight to the dealer; might as well give the money directly to the dealer. Chicago, where I live, has turned into a regular panhandle city. Apparently a lot of people have dropped out and consider this to be a viable lifestyle. It’s bad but I have to watch out that I don’t fall into the pit myself. Also I can’t support the entire homeless population of the city. There seems to be more of this these days and I’m not sure what the cause is; there’s some sort of erosion going on.

    • Replies: @Njguy73
    , @animalogic
  49. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    The DEA is an integral part of the health “care” system. Every doctor has a DEA number, etc.

    In a better system with no DEA and no substance control, a doctor’s prescription would be advice, not a gate pass to a Kafkaesque hell.

    • Replies: @JackOH
  50. JackOH says:

    Clarence Rorem is the very bad but well-intentioned economist who created America’s unique group health insurance. The idea withered until 1943, when the American Medical Association suggested it to American manufacturers as a way of blocking the Wagner-Murray-Dingell national health initiative, national health care then being thought of as a precursor to even more government intervention.

    • Replies: @guillermo
  51. Njguy73 says:

    I know this will grind certain gears on this site, but I’m going to say something good about Malcolm Gladwell.

    I’m reading his essay collection “What the Dog Saw,” and one piece is about homelessness. Gladwell writes about studies that demonstrate how at any time, the vast majority of a city homeless are persons in a tough transition, persons who will only be homeless for a short time. Only a small percentage of the homeless remain so for extended periods.

    This small cohort of “perma-homeless” end up costing taxpayers huge amounts in emergency room visits and prison stays. It would be cheaper for the government to give them their own apartments and assign professionals to keep them out of hospitals and jails.

    But that ain’t happenin’.

  52. @Linh Dinh

    Real charity comes from a big heart.

  53. @gruff

    That sounds fun. Holiday-ish. And economic. Not sure if “pods” is marketable,tho..?

    • Replies: @gruff
  54. @anonymous

    ‘Apparently a lot of people have dropped out and consider this to be a viable lifestyle.”
    A “lifestyle”? “Viable” ? “Apparently”??
    You’re at the wrong address, mate: you want “readers” or something.
    F*cking lifestyle, are you for real ?

  55. JackOH says:

    anonymous, thanks, agree. We need reminded that our anti-drug laws and AMA lobbying both conspired to eviscerate the neighborhood pharmacist’s onetime scope of practice. I’m not sure if anyone today is looking at whether the trade-offs involved are still worth the candle.

    Very occasionally I get very bad, short-term back pain. I want to go to the local pharmacist fast for his advice on a pain-killer, maybe an opiate or something else. That’s illegal. I’m sure there’s a logic that explains why the quick, economical treatment of immediate pain ought to be denied—but I just don’t get it.

  56. Randy says:

    I like to say “I wish my mother had an abortion”.

  57. gruff says:

    That’s just a name we’re using in the pitch. The actual brand will be “HeroInn”.

    • Replies: @animalogic
  58. Hibernian says:

    Heaven forbid that conservative views be found at!

    • Replies: @animalogic
  59. Joe Hill says:

    “Oh Goody – I always wanted a Lifestyle!”

    -Frankie Heck, lead character in “The Middle”

    • Replies: @animalogic
  60. Joe Hill says:

    People think that poverty is a failure of the U.S. system. In fact it is a feature, and the message from Our Dear Leaders is very clear:

    “Follow all the rules or you, too, will end up like Patrick: a destitute and despised punching bag.”

    We are told that the way to avoid destitution is to borrow $100,000 to get a college diploma, then spend the rest of our miserable lives trying to pay off the debt, which can not be discharged through bankruptcy. So now we are a nation of debt slaves in addition to being wage slaves.

    Slaves that spend all their life force trying to obtain the necessities of life don’t have much strength left over for resisting Dear Leaders. It’s also important to make sure the slaves all hate each other. Otherwise, they might organize themselves and start carrying torches and pitchforks.

    • Replies: @Njguy73
    , @tsotha
  61. Mem says:

    Sorry to say but many employed people working in Florida are in low paid, Retail and Restaraunt jobs. They serve the millions of retirees in the winter and scrape by in summer until the season returns.

  62. Njguy73 says:
    @Joe Hill

    Gary North of has a list of “Rules of Success to Adopt by Age 13.”


    Never pay retail for college…
    Start taking CLEP and DSST exams…Quiz out of college.
    Never go into debt for college. This includes your parents.
    Earn an online accredited college degree. It’s cheap. It’s fast.
    Save your college money for grad school. Earn your M.A. or MBA online.

    But how many 13-year-olds would read this and follow it? I sure as hell wouldn’t have.

  63. @Hibernian

    Conservative–yes. Silly–no.

  64. @gruff

    Cool. Like it. Cooking with plutonium, guy.

  65. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    F*cking lifestyle, are you for real ?

    You better believe I’m for real. You must be a problem child.

    • Replies: @animalogic
  66. @anonymous

    Actually, and sadly, I do believe you…these people don’t have a “lifestyle”– ie, a “life” amounting to a series of carefully contrived purchase “statements”– they barely have a LIFE…
    Incidently…”problem child” ??? God god. No you definitely are NOT for real.

  67. tsotha says:
    @Joe Hill

    The guy said he was doing fine until he started doing crack. That’s not something you can blame on Our Dear Leaders.

    As for “Follow all the rules or you, too, will end up like Patrick…”, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect people to get a job if they can. There’s never been a society where people didn’t have to work.

    • Replies: @Joe Hill
  68. artichoke says:

    This is horrible and cruel. I guess the problem is that without a regular doctor (which he cannot afford) there’s nobody monitoring him to see if he’s abusing the medication.

    But now that Obamacare has forced all the medical records online, shouldn’t it be possible to monitor that, detect doctor-shopping, etc.?

    With that sort of thing ruled out (and if we can’t rule it out, is it worse to let people play the system to ruin their own lives, or protect them and consign folks like this guy to a life of pain?) there should be no reason not to change the system so he can get pain reliever.

    • Replies: @JackOH
  69. artichoke says:

    He said he now has a physical pain that he’s trying to mask.

  70. JackOH says:

    “Horrible and cruel” is right. I have newspaper accounts of ex-felons who re-offend for the sole purpose of getting needed health care in prison that they can’t get outside prison. When looked at in case-by-case detail, American health care presents with incentives and disincentives that are psychotic. They serve a political equilibrium our masters want, and most people go along.

  71. Joe Hill says:

    Your reasonable-sounding reply illustrates the effectiveness of divide-and-conquer tactics used by Dear Leaders since the beginning of “civilization”. We are so busy kicking people while they are down, that no one notices Trump, Gates, Buffet, and the rest of the billionaire scum looting the country as fast as they can.

    Yesterday I heard a report that half of the country can not raise $400 without borrowing or selling something. That is a shocking state of affairs. But fortunately we have phony national elections and people like Patrick to keep us distracted.

    In our righteous outrage over Patrick’s poor decisions, we conveniently forget that addiction is a medical disease, not a moral issue, and that poverty is a lack of access to material resources. In America there is no room for compassion, ’cause we are too busy judging and condemning everyone else, a convenient distraction from our own miserable lives.

    No one dreams of growing up to be a homeless drug addict.

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