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                December 31, 2010

Content With Sloth

by Thomas A. Droleskey

Men who do not live for the honor and glory of the Most Blessed Trinity will, more often than not, slip into lives of utter sloth over the course of time. Sure, there are exceptions to be found, especially among those who are motivated by disordered pride or ambition or by a desire to make as much money as possible. Such temporal motives can be powerful incentives to work hard at one's chosen work. Such temporal motives are, however, have no lasting, eternal value to them as they are directed to the pursuit of the riches and pleasures and powers of this passing world.

Most of those who lack a love of the true God of Divine Revelation as He had revealed Himself to us exclusively through His Catholic Church trudge their way through their lives, refusing to work hard in their studies in school or at their jobs once they have entered upon a career. Americans have been taught that the minimum is acceptable, that they will be indemnified time and time and time again for a failure to perform competently in their assignments, that they are "owed" either a grade or a job or a promotion or some other kind of benefit because they exist, because they are who they are, that is, creatures who have become used to living for the "weekend" or for the "game" or for their favorite television program. Study and work, therefore, must be endured as the means to these ends.

A spirit of sloth has been engendered among many, although certainly not all, of those government employees who have the job security provided by the civil service system, a phenomenon that is to be found among many teachers who have tenure in the brainwashing program that passes for public schools. Civil service employees unions indemnify their members who engage in slothful behavior, making it very difficult for supervisors to correct serious problems that lead to inefficiency in the delivery of services, in competency in the performance of one's daily duties and a waste of taxpayer dollars as civil servants are paid no matter the level of their performance. As one civil servant told a graduate student who worked in the offices of a United States attorney's office in 1980s, "Honey, some days I work. Some days I don't work. Today is a day I am sitting at my desk and not working. And there's not a thing that anyone can do to me."

Those who do not fear the just judgment of God on their souls for how they conduct themselves and who do not have to fear the loss of their jobs will not care much about their own competency and they will not care about public safety in times of crises. Thus it is that the government of the largest city in the United States of America, the City of New York, New York, was unprepared to handle a winter blizzard that occurred on Sunday, December 26, 2010, even though such storms have occurred in the past. The city government's response to the storm was haphazard, leaving scores of thousands of people in parts of the Boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn with unplowed streets and unshoveled sidewalks.

No effort was made to clear the snow off of subway tracks on those portions of lines that run above ground for part of their routes. Over four hundred city buses were stranded in snowdrifts. Some remain stranded as of this writing on the afternoon of December 28, 2010. Even the Long Island Rail Road, whose workers are employed by the State of New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority, shut down each of its eleven branches were without service from Sunday, December 26, 2010, the Feast of Saint Stephen the Protomartyr, until limited service was restore at 5:30 p.m., on Monday, December 27, 2010, the Feast of Saint John the Evangelist. That is still the case as of Tuesday, December 28, 2010, the Feast of the Holy Innocents. Preparations made to sweep the tracks with snow plows on a continuous basis? Perish the thought.

The utter lack of regard for public safety in a weather-related emergency extended to the office of the pro-abortion, pro-perversity billionaire Mayor of the City of New York, New York, who spend a great deal of his time at his home in Bermuda, Michael Bloomberg, the quintessential food nazi who has used the power of the nanny state to ban transfat cooking oil in restaurants and who has sought to ban salt shakers from the tables of restaurants, believe it or not, did not declare a state of emergency, saying only that his administration was coping with the storm as best as possible. He is using as his excuse that there had never been such a storm in the city's history, a claim that is ludicrous.

Indeed, there was the infamous snowstorm of 1969 was far worse. Forty-two people died during that storm as parts of Kew Gardens, Forest Hills and Rego Park, Queens, were buried in snow for days, prompting then Mayor John Vliet Lindsay to suffer great political damage. The press corps, however, liked Lindsay and they covered for him as he insulted the "old Jewish broads" who were yelling at him as he walked the streets of Fresh Meadows, Queens:

Forty years ago this week, a snowstorm struck New York City, eventually killing 42 people — half of them in Queens — and injuring 288 others. The blizzard prompted a political crisis that became legendary in the annals of municipal politics, nearly brought down the administration of Mayor John V. Lindsay and offered an instructive lesson to elected officials in the politics of snow removal.

The snowstorm is recounted in Vincent J. Cannato’s “The Ungovernable City: John Lindsay and His Struggle to Save New York” (Basic Books, 2001). Fifteen inches of snow fell on Sunday, Feb. 9, 1969, defying the predictions of the United States Weather Bureau (now the National Weather Service), which had forecast a change to rain by that afternoon. The city’s environmental protection administrator was upstate and unreachable, and nearly 40 percent of the city’s snow removal equipment was defective because of poor maintenance, both factors that hampered the city’s response.

“For three days, the city was in a state of near paralysis,” wrote Dr. Cannato, an associate professor of history at the University of Massachusetts at Boston. Not until Wednesday did schools, streets, subways, airports and other infrastructure begin to return to normal operation.

Even worse, Queens was relegated to the status of a neglected stepchild. For days, the streets were impassable, and residents were all but barricaded inside their homes.

At one point, Ralph J. Bunche, the diplomat and undersecretary-general for the United Nations, sent Mayor Lindsay a telegram saying that never in his 17 years living in Kew Gardens had he “experienced such neglect in snow removal as now.”

There were no buses, taxicabs or delivery vehicles, and no trash or garbage collection for days. “As far as getting to the United Nations is concerned, I may as well be in the Alps,” Dr. Bunche wrote. “This is a shameful performance by the great city of New York, which should certainly condone no second-class borough.”

Mr. Lindsay traveled to Queens, but his visit was not well-received. His limousine could not make its way through Rego Park, and even in a four-wheel-drive truck, he had trouble getting around. In Kew Gardens Hills, the mayor was booed; one woman screamed, “You should be ashamed of yourself.” In Fresh Meadows, a woman told the mayor, “Get away, you bum.”

Mr. Lindsay’s predecessor, Robert F. Wagner, had spent an enormous amount during the last major blizzard, in 1961, but the Lindsay administration was wary of going over budget. And there were rumors that sanitation workers — still angry about the Lindsay administration’s heavy-handed actions during their strike in 1968 — were deliberately ignoring Queens to sabotage the mayor.

Dr. Cannato reveals a fascinating episode. During the mayor’s walk through Fresh Meadows, a woman called him “a wonderful man,” prompting the mayor to respond, “And you’re a wonderful woman, not like those fat Jewish broads up there,” pointing to women in a nearby building who had criticized him.

The comment was recorded on tape, but The New York Times, The Associated Press and WNEW radio declined to run with the story.

“Had the press used this story, John Lindsay’s political career would have been over,” Dr. Cannato wrote, noting that Al Shanker, the powerful head of the teachers’ union, had already raised concerns about Mr. Lindsay’s views toward Jews.

In the end, Mr. Lindsay won re-election in the fall of 1969, though his political career — including his switch to the Democratic Party in 1971 and his failed run for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1972 — remained troubled.

Equally important, perhaps, the terrible snowstorm of 1969 highlighted how the handling of severe weather is a crucial test for politicians. It is a test that mayors in other cities would fail again and again.

In January 1979, Michael A. Bilandic, Richard J. Daley’s successor as mayor of Chicago, was so inept in handling a blizzard that hit Illinois that it severely tarnished the legendary Daley political machine. Two months later, Jane M. Byrne, running on a reform platform, defeated Mr. Bilandic in the mayoral primary.

On Christmas Eve 1982, a snowstorm throughout the Denver area overwhelmed the city’s 45 plows. Mayor William H. McNichols Jr., Denver’s mayor since 1968, was ousted the following May by an upstart challenger, Federico F. Peña.

And then there was Mayor Marion S. Barry Jr. of Washington, who somehow survived his mishaps with bad weather. In 1987, Mr. Barry was in southern California attending the Super Bowl — getting a manicure and playing tennis at the Beverly Hills Hilton — when a winter storm buried the District of Columbia. The nation’s capital became the butt of ridicule. In 1996, Mr. Barry — who was elected to a fourth, nonconsecutive term in 1994 after serving a federal sentence on cocaine possession charges — was excoriated by residents after it took nearly a week to clear the streets of snow.

So far, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has avoided the mishaps that plagued some of his predecessors. In February 2006, when a record storm dumped nearly 27 inches of snow in Central Park, the mayor put the city on a war footing and determined to dig out quickly. The mayor seemed well aware that the politics of snow removal remain potent. (Remembering a Snowstorm That Paralyzed the City.)


Bloomberg's Blizzard of 2010 is now on a footing with Lindsay's Lollapalooza of 1969. There is no reason why the war footing the Bloomberg mobilized nearly five years ago could not have assembled once again. The warnings were given. Preparations simply had not been made, admitting, of course, that there is only so much that can be done in the midst of acts of God. One of the things that the insidiously self-righteous Bloomberg could have done was to have declared that state of emergency. He is not going to run for re-election in the year 2013. His national reputation, such as it is, will take a "hit" as a result of the lack of preparation to deal with a blizzard whose impact could have been blunted, at least to a certain extent.

The inability of many municipalities to fulfill basic tasks of road maintenance and public safety even in normal conditions is staggering to behold. Billions upon billions of tax revenue have been spent on the bloated salaries and pensions for career civil servants as a form of "tribute" to the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), whose political action committee donates tons of money to candidates of the naturalist "left" in the Democratic Party. The taxpayers exist to enable the civil servants to get paid now and after their retirement even if they perform minimally and are not interested even in a naturalistic sense of pursuing excellence in their daily routine.

Members of District Council 37 of AFSCME in the City of New York even took to sabotaging New York City highways and drawbridges on June 6, 1971, to protest possible then Governor Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller's proposal to effect changes to their fat pension plans that permitted some of them to retire after twenty years and receive a pension that would be based on an average of the amount of hours they worked in the three years prior to their retirement, although those who retire at an earlier age do not receive as much as they would if they waited ten or twenty years. District Council 37's website even boasts of the inconvenience that motorists suffered on June 7, 1971, and I was one of the ones stuck in traffic on the Long Island Expressway as I attempted to drive to summer session classes at Saint John's University in Jamaica, Queen, from my family's lovely house, located on two heavily wood acres in Oyster Bay Cove, New York:

In 1971, Rockefeller provoked another strike when he blocked the state Legislature from implementing pension improvements that DC 37 had negotiated. The governor and his anti-labor allies in Albany didn’t anticipate the backlash from union workers in New York City.

On June 7, thousands of commuters were stranded as traffic snarled on the highways throughout the city. Drawbridge operators in Teamsters Local 237 had raised the bridges and Motor Vehicle Operators in Local 983 left their trucks — without keys — in strategic locations on the highways.

All told, some 8,000 union members walked out, including DC 37 members from city parks, sewage plants and incinerators.

“I drove a getaway car,” said former Laborers Local 924 President James Welsh, now retired. “Workers left three or four big trucks across the lanes of the Major Deegan in the Bronx. They hopped in my car and I drove them out of sight.”

The 1971 strike failed to revive the pension legislation, but Gotbaum and Mayor John Lindsay reached a historic agreement to provide welfare fund benefits and health insurance to retirees. “Today, as we see employers cut back and even eliminate health and pension benefits, we understand how important health coverage and the union’s prescription drug benefit are to our retirees,” said DC 37 Retirees Association President Stuart Leibowitz, then a Local 371 officer. (District Council 37 Attacks Ordinary New Yorkers; the actual text of the "hot link" that I have revised boasted of "How Labor Saved New York"! Talk about hubris.)


It really takes chutzpah to boast about having inconvenienced the taxpayers who make the civil service gravy train possible. Then again, the man who was the executive director District Council 37 from 1965 to 1987, Victor Gotbaum, had plenty of chutzpah. So do the union bosses of the New York City Sanitation Workers' Union today. As it turns out, Sanitation Workers' Union bosses ordered their workers to go slow in their cleanup of New York City after the blizzard of five days ago, thereby inconveniencing the public now just as workers had done in 1971 (and as happened during the New York City transit strike of forty-five years ago from January 1, 1966, to January 13, 1966 and during the sanitation workers' strike of 1968 and yet another transit strike in 1980):

These garbage men really stink.

Selfish Sanitation Department bosses from the snow-slammed outer boroughs ordered their drivers to snarl the blizzard cleanup to protest budget cuts -- a disastrous move that turned streets into a minefield for emergency-services vehicles, The Post has learned.

Miles of roads stretching from as north as Whitestone, Queens, to the south shore of Staten Island still remained treacherously unplowed last night because of the shameless job action, several sources and a city lawmaker said, which was over a raft of demotions, attrition and budget cuts.

"They sent a message to the rest of the city that these particular labor issues are more important," said City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Queens), who was visited yesterday by a group of guilt-ridden sanitation workers who confessed the shameless plot.

Halloran said he met with three plow workers from the Sanitation Department -- and two Department of Transportation supervisors who were on loan -- at his office after he was flooded with irate calls from constituents.

The snitches "didn't want to be identified because they were afraid of retaliation," Halloran said. "They were told [by supervisors] to take off routes [and] not do the plowing of some of the major arteries in a timely manner. They were told to make the mayor pay for the layoffs, the reductions in rank for the supervisors, shrinking the rolls of the rank-and-file."

New York's Strongest used a variety of tactics to drag out the plowing process -- and pad overtime checks -- which included keeping plows slightly higher than the roadways and skipping over streets along their routes, the sources said.

The snow-removal snitches said they were told to keep their plows off most streets and to wait for orders before attacking the accumulating piles of snow.

They said crews normally would have been more aggressive in combating a fierce, fast-moving blizzard like the one that barreled in on Sunday and blew out the next morning.

The workers said the work slowdown was the result of growing hostility between the mayor and the workers responsible for clearing the snow.

In the last two years, the agency's workforce has been slashed by 400 trash haulers and supervisors -- down from 6,300 -- because of the city's budget crisis. And, effective tomorrow, 100 department supervisors are to be demoted and their salaries slashed as an added cost-saving move.

Sources said budget cuts were also at the heart of poor planning for the blizzard last weekend. The city broke from its usual routine and did not call in a full complement on Saturday for snow preparations in order to save on added overtime that would have had to be paid for them to work on Christmas Day.

The result was an absolute collapse of New York's once-vaunted systems of clearing the streets and keeping mass transit moving under the weight of 20 inches of snow.

The Sanitation Department last night denied there was a concerted effort to slow snow removal.

"There are no organized or wildcat actions being taken by the sanitation workers or the supervisors," said spokesman Matthew Lipani.

Joseph Mannion, president of the union that represents agency supervisors, said talk of a slowdown "is hogwash." But he admitted there is "resentment out there" toward Mayor Bloomberg and his administration because of budget cuts.

His counterpart at the rank-and-file's union, Harry Nespoli, has also denied there is a job action, though he admitted his guys are working lucrative 14-hour shifts.

Bloomberg spokesman Stu Loeser said only: "We would hope this is not the case."

But multiple Sanitation Department sources told The Post yesterday that angry plow drivers have only been clearing streets assigned to them even if that means they have to drive through snowed-in roads with their plows raised.

And they are keeping their plow blades unusually high, making it necessary for them to have to run extra passes, adding time and extra pay.

One mechanic said some drivers are purposely smashing plows and salt spreaders to further stall the cleanup effort.

"That is a disgrace. I had to walk three miles because the buses can't move," said salesman Yuri Vesslin, 38, of Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg -- quickly becoming the public face of failure this week -- spent a second consecutive day yesterday defending himself to critics of his administration's handling of the storm.

He took reporters to The Bronx to explain that the city is coming back to life and to tout his administration's efforts.

"Can't work much harder," Bloomberg said.

But Hizzoner admitted, "We didn't do as good a job as we want to do or as the city has a right to expect."'

Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty promised that every street will have been plowed by 7 this morning, but then he offered this hedge: "Will somebody find a street that I missed? Maybe."

Bloomberg and Doherty also offered a series of excuses for the failed response to the blizzard. They blamed residents for shoveling snow into streets that had already been plowed and for tying up 911 with non-emergency calls.

"This was a failure in the operations and ultimately, as the mayor tells us very often, the buck stops with him," said Councilman Vincent Ignizio (R-SI). (This story appeared in the New York Post's online edition on Thursday, December 30, 2010. As the pages the pages on which this article appears features photographs of a most immodest nature, I have decided not to provide a hot link. A related story can be found at Union Workers Accused of Slowdown as NYC Battled Blizzard. )


This is no exaggeration. We drove and walked on the streets of Manhattan on Wednesday, December 29, 2010, the Feast of Saint Thomas a Becket, three days after the blizzard. The conditions were atrocious. Lanes of traffic on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and and Long Island Expressway were entirely uncleared of snow. It was nearly impossible to walk on some sidewalks of major streets. Two garbage trucks being used to plow snow on First Avenue in East Harlem were driving very slowly as one driver plowed snow off of the street and the second plowed it back onto the street. As a native New Yorker, I must confess that I have never seen anything like this before.

It is certainly true that officials in other, smaller cities that get large snowfalls each year just expect citizens to cope with the snow and deal with it as best they can. I have lived in various and sundry of the smaller cold climate locales since I staked out on my own in January of 1973 after completing my bachelor's degree at Saint John's University, including South Bend, Indiana, Albany and Troy, New York, Utica, New York, Bloomington-Normal, Illinois, and Fargo, North Dakota, not one of which was distinguished for the rapid removal of snow and the clearing of streets. Indeed, I came up with the following line to describe the attitude of the longtime Mayor of Albany, New York, Erastus Corning 2nd (who served between 1941 and the time of his death in 1983): "Mayor Corning has a theology of snow removal. God put it there. He will take it away in His time." As a native of Long Island who was used to relatively efficient removal of snow, I was appalled by the lack of concern for public safety and convenience. Such, though, is the attitude of many municipal officials whose municipalities are located in snow belt regions.

Admitting that it is never easy for cities with large populations to deal with massive snowstorms, it is nevertheless true that most large cities, especially those in the colder climes, have a battle plan of attack in the event of a major snowstorm. Many of those highly unionized public workers in those large cities today, however, do not even have a naturalistic sense of public service, believing that their job is, in effect, an entitlement and that they have a "right" to inconvenience the public at will even if doing so, yes, even if lives will be lost because police, fire and ambulance vehicles cannot get to the residences of people in need. No one who who has any love of the true God of Divine Revelation and true Charity for his neighbor, who bears within his immortal soul God's very image and likeness, would even contemplate undertaking, no less carrying out, any course of action that would be detrimental to the spiritual or physical welfare of human beings, no less those victims of an emergency.

This is, my handful of select readers, what must happen as men and their nations degenerate over the course of time because of naturalism's pernicious effect on the social fabric. It is tough enough for men who have the true Faith to avoid falling into slothful patterns of behavior at home or on the job. It is very difficult for those who do not have the true Faith and who have accustomed themselves to living along the naturalistic paths of minimalism and self-centeredness to avoid becoming habitually slothful and careless to the point of being cold-hearted in the face of the inconvenience their immorality and irresponsibility causes others. This cold-heartedness itself is but a reflection of the national callousness that exists in the hearts of most Americans about the daily plight of over four thousand innocent human babies who are dismembered surgically in their mothers' wombs under cover of the civil law (and the thousands more who die each day as a result of abortifacient contraceptives).

Those who are content with sloth, especially sloth that wastes the time and money of taxpayers and puts innocent human beings in jeopardy needlessly ought to reckon with these words found in Father Charles Arminjon's The End of the Present World and the Mysteries of the Future Life as they commit acts of evil and injustice that undermine the common temporal good and place into jeopardy the eternal salvation of their souls and can, of course, threaten even the existence of their nations:

We are not a prophet, and we should not venture to summon at such short notice all wicked men, the pamphleteers of free-thought, the instigators of unjust laws, those who violate the honor and liberty of the family, and the rights and virtue of children; but that those men who defy god and deride His threats will one day have a minute and rigorous account to render His justice . . . is an absolutely certain truth . . . and, sooner, or later, they will settle that account. On the day of solemn reparation, the wicked who called the just fools, who glutted themselves on their tortures and tears, like starving men devouring bread, will learn to their cost that God does not suffer Himself to be mocked, and that there will be no impunity or license for the benefit of crime and evil.

All wrongs will be strikingly redressed. The blood of Abel, which washed the earth, will gush out over Cain, and raise an accusing voice against him. St. Peter will demand an account of Nero for the torture to which he sentenced him. Mary Stuart will call down the divine vengeance upon the head of Elizabeth of England, her murderer. All the saints will cry out with one voice to God: Usquequo, Domine, non judicas et non vindicas sanguinem nostrum de iis qui habitant in terra.

It will be a great court of appeal, to which an immense number of cases, famous on earth, will be referred, where an infinite number of judgments that fear, ambition, or self-interest have dictated to men, will be irrevocably annulled; where, in a word, Providence, against which fools blasphemed on earth, with accusations that it was harsh, unjust, and blindly partial, will provide complete justification for its ways, as it is written: Ut vincas cum juidcaris. (Father Charles Arminjon, The End of the Present World and the Mysteries of the Future Life, translated by Susan Conroy and Peter McEnerny. Manchester, New Hampshire: Sophia Institute Press, 2008, pp. 106-107.)


Isn't interesting that most elected officials (Governor Christopher Christie of the State of New Jersey is, quite obviously, an exception to this) are afraid to tackle the power and moral, if not monetary, corruption of government employees' labor unions have no fear whatsoever of answering to God for their support of the innocent preborn? The powerful of this world who cower as labor union leaders and rank-and-file members place the lives and welfare of citizens in jeopardy are themselves going to have to make an account of their sins of omission and for this sins of commission by supporting the daily slaughter of the preborn, whether by chemical or surgical means:

Those who hold the reins of government should not forget that it is the duty of public authority by appropriate laws and sanctions to defend the lives of the innocent, and this all the more so since those whose lives are endangered and assailed cannot defend themselves. Among whom we must mention in the first place infants hidden in the mother's womb. And if the public magistrates not only do not defend them, but by their laws and ordinances betray them to death at the hands of doctors or of others, let them remember that God is the Judge and Avenger of innocent blood which cried from earth to Heaven. (Pope Pius XI, Casti Connubii, December 30, 1930.)


Please send this to those who civil power so that they can't say that they were not warned before the moment of their Particular Judgments that there is no excuse before God for supporting the evils that they do under cover of the civil law.

If we are honest with ourselves, my friends, especially at the end of another calendar year, we must recognize that our sins, including our own sins of sloth, have worsened the state of the Church Militant on earth in this time of apostasy and betrayal and that they have worsened the state of the world-at-large. We must live more penitentially every day of this coming new year of Our Lord, 2011, as we pray and fast and make every manner of sacrifice possible as the consecrated slaves of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary.

We must be about the business of planting a few seeds for the restoration of the Church Militant on earth and of Christendom in the world, using Our Lady's Most Holy Weapon with confidence as we shield herself with her Brown Scapular of Mount Carmel and have confidence in the abiding miraculous properties of her Miraculous Medal.

Isn't it time right now to pray at least five decades of Our Lady's Most Holy Rosary in thanksgiving for the graces that we have received in the year of Our Lord that is about to end, the year 2010, as we pray for the graces that we will need in the year ahead to be champions of Christ the King and Mary our Immaculate Queen who are never content with sloth in our own lives and who will demand that those in public life eliminate it from theirs.

Viva Cristo Rey! Vivat Christus Rex!

Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and the hour of our death. Amen.

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.

Saint Joseph, pray for us.

Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.

Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.

Saint John the Evangelist, pray for us.

Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for us.

Saint Gabriel the Archangel, pray for us.

Saint Raphael the Archangel, pray for us.

Saints Joachim and Anne, pray for us.

Pope Saint Sylvester I, pray for us.

See also: A Litany of Saints




© Copyright 2010, Thomas A. Droleskey. All rights reserved.