Shipping PR's heroin addicts to Philly

At some point in the past 18 months, there was a major uptick in the number of homeless people in Center City, Philadelphia. I remember there being homeless when I first moved to the city, in 2005, and when I returned from living in New Jersey in 2013. At some point in 2015, though, they became more prevalent downtown, more assertive about asking for money, and more aggressive in their behavior. As I’m (admittedly) wont to do with every problem in the city, I initially laid blame for this at the hands of our inept municipal government. Thanks to reporting, primarily by the Philadelphia Inquirer, since, I’ve learned that the city has one of the highest populations of opiate addicts in the country.

Puerto Rico’s Air Bridge to Philadelphia
They arrive from all over the country, and are largely attracted by the huge tracts of vacant homes in areas like Kensington, where they can squat easily. This week’s Inquirer profiled a specific subset that’s more concerning than the addicts flocking from exurbs into the city: a human trafficking network that brings heroin addicts from Puerto Rico to Philadelphia. This process is sickening all around: from the Puerto Rican cities that would rather abandon their citizens than help them, to the Philadelphians exploiting them for gain, to the poor addicts caught in the middle and stuck in Philadelphia with no means of escape.

Claiming Trump’s voters are no good is ridiculous
You would think that liberals would recognize the danger in making sweeping statements about a huge group of people based only on one narrow characteristic. Yet, the weeks since the election have been filled with posts asserting that each of the 60 million people who voted for Trump are racists who want to put a fascist in control of the government. Trump was not a good candidate, and may very well not be a good president, but to claim that there was not a single reason to vote for him over Hillary Clinton beyond racism simply is not true.

Stop mindlessly going to college
Breaking the rote behavior of trotting off for a four-year degree immediately after high school has been a cause of mine, if only for the negative impact it had in my life. It’s always nice to see successful entrepreneurs encourage young people to take alternative paths — in this case, LinkedIn’s Jeff Weiner pointing out that coding or other vocational training is more valuable than a liberal arts degree, and a worthy pursuit.

To serve or not to serve?
I had hoped political intrigue might die down after the election, but the chaotic Trump transition has only fueled a new wave of articles devoted to who might be selected and why. For those who opposed Trump’s candidacy, his victory presents an interesting dilemma: to serve, or not? I side with Eliot Cohen’s (at least initial) recommendation: serve. Just like those who choose not vote and bemoan the results, working in the administration is a meaningful way to ensure policy outcomes more in line with what we’d expect in a Republican administration. Taking your ball and going home seems awfully short sighted — there’s no better way to create a catastrophe than to deprive the president of sound, experienced advice.

The end of liberalism
As if we were that lucky. The New York Times has joined the chorus of intelligent commentators laying at least a portion of the blame for Clinton’s loss on the left’s ridiculous emphasis on identity politics. In a nation where people are suffering from economic malaise, healthcare costs and other issues that meaningfully affect whether they can put food on the table, it seems out of touch to elevate transgender identity issues as a core concern of the country. And, no doubt, it has contributed to the worst aspects of the millennial generation. A return to liberalism’s core — while bemoaned by me personally — would create a better outcome in governance that the ridiculous emphasis the Democrats have today.