A Snippet on “IF I Ran My Company”

While sitting on the banks of the P’u Rover, Chuang-tse was approached by two representatives of the Prince of Ch’u, who offered him a position at court. Chuang-tse watched the water flowing by as if he had not heard. Finally he remarked, “I am told that the Prince has a sacred tortoise, over two thousand years old, which is kept in a box, wrapped in silk and brocade.” “That is true,” the officials replied. “If the tortoise had been given a choice,” Chuang-tse continued, “which do you think he would have liked better- to have been alive in the mud, or dead within the palace?” “To have been alive in the mud, of course,” the men answered. “I too prefer the mud,” said Chuang-tse. “Good-bye.”

Leaders as Me

This is it … this is real..  I did it.. I did it!!! I am now in charge of something big.  I don’t want to forget how I got here, I just want to bask in the here and now and know that I am here!  I have an office with a window looking out on a lake.  I have help!!! I have an assistant that can help me track my random thoughts and of course my calendar.  I have enough resources to get the things I need and maybe some things that I want.   I worked hard but now I am here.   It isn’t over, it is just the start of it.  The mountain I climbed was high but the challenges that face me are more than the mountain.

When you work hard and you drive towards outcome based initiatives and you deliver results, most people assume that this is what you want.

Maybe it is money or maybe they think just power (whatever that means) or something else like the illusion of control.    Yes, I said the “illusion of control” because I do believe that.    We aren’t a master to anything in this world, even if we think or perceive we are.   Sure we can influence people and there is cause and effect but that doesn’t mean control. It seems to me that the more we gain, the more we are constrained.   Isn’t that something that other people say as well?  As we move up the ladder in our corporate or business lives, it also seems that the same people who support us, need us.   It is this interdependence that facilitated our growth and it is the same that taxes our time.

We keep experiencing groundhog day in my business.    A year has passed and it doesn’t matter whether or not we have a government contract, our jobs are on the line.    We need to get everyone together by phone and in person to tell them of the great uncertainty that is building before us.   The burden of loss is something that we ALL MUST SHARE.   When a company loses, everyone in the company has to make sacrifice.    Year after year, it gets harder to recover.  Year after year, we lose friends and highly valued team members.    If  I ran the company,  I would temper uncertainty with intent.   In other words,  working on the beach / bench could be an opportunity as opposed to a threat.   It could be the time that we needed to invest in our people that we now have because of the situation.    I think Jack Welsh aka “Neutron Jack” proved that firing strategies are good for the short-term but they leave a blood stain on the economy that can’t be washed away.   That isn’t the leadership I believe in.

Anything Possible -But I was Tired -Cheryl Family

We sat in our offices day after day waiting for the next tiny bit of news.   We told our wives and husbands that we didn’t know what was happening but that “cuts were coming” and that we were facing challenges and changes.   Every day we found out that someone was leaving or was getting let go.  It was just business.   When people made individual choices to leave the business, leaders took their individual choices as a personal offensive on the company or the leadership itself.    Nothing changed from then to now, except people have become comfortably numb and used to the routine.    It doesn’t have to be this way because uncertainty can be shared.     While in the Navy, I learned from shipmates that a person may not like you or love you while at sea but they will trust you and you will trust them for the greater good of everyone.    It is that trust that saves lives.   In my view, it is that trust that could save a business while it is being tested by the market.    If my shipboard analogy were to convey from business to my job in the Navy, every time there was a fire on board the ship and if resources were constrained, we would just throw a bunch of sailors overboard.  Of course, we would have to pick the sailors that were sleeping or something because since they aren’t actively busy they must have less value.    Sure this seems a bit extreme but in reality it feels this way to a lot of people.

If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart. – Nelson Mandela 

That being said, if your actions and your words are inconsistent, people will know.   When you threaten someones livelihood day after day even the most loyal person will become less faithful.     The other aspect is that when a company wins (gains income or revenue) the company and shareholders benefit and the loss that the employee takes is never re-addressed.   The companies loss is for everyone but the companies win is just for the company.  That is something that I would change immediately.   Everyone willing to share in the pain, should benefit from their loyalty and should be rewarded when the company wins.

If I am not Atlas then why do I have to hold the weight of the sky?

What motivated me to work past the 42nd hour when I was already tired and demotivated?   Sometimes I don’t know exactly what it was or (is) for that matter.  Life is very complicated and it doesn’t seem that any one thing was a single driver.   My goal is always over all to seek stability for my family.   I think as we can all see that in business if you aren’t growing, you are most probably shrinking.   The only way that I know how to find stability is to take on some of the burden of growing the business.   In turn with hope that my efforts of growing the business will at the very minimum translate to stability for my family.    I don’t have the expectation (at this point) of personal growth in the organization itself no matter how successful I am in building business because as I stated earlier, business doesn’t want to share success.   I would change this if I ran my company but this is the reality of what it is.   That also means that if the business finds value in Howie then it may be beneficial to keep him.   What a great motivator for me!  Keep adding value so that I don’t feel as threatened when things get tight.     You may not share my views on this but I find that sharpening my tools and working hard keeps me in practice.

The burden is on me to take on the responsibility to do what I can in order to help the business succeed.  What can I do?  I can do a lot!  If I ran the company, I would make sure that everyone knew they could participate.   I would make sure they knew that they are enabled to be the best that they can be by their choice on how they want to contribute and what burdens they choose to take on their shoulders.    If they want to be a rock star then lets build a stage together.    To lead from where we are in my view is the most powerful position to be in.    How we impact the people around us and how we love them or engage with them shows immediate feedback and I love feedback.   When I hug you, I like being hugged back.   All of these things have to be tempered too.   If you give up too much and you take on too much work, you will suffer and possibly fail yourself and the people you are trying to help.   How many people have you known to take on everything by themselves and/or to claim they know it all?  What happens to them?   It is always a similar story, they find themselves alone.   Business is personal, it isn’t meant for us to be alone, it is for us to share, trade and work together.   There are times that we can work alone but if I ran my company, I would share the burden too.  What if Atlas had company?

CanIhelpAtlas

I knew a Principal that was so tired on his way home from endless days of work that he almost killed himself while sleep driving into a tunnel.  He didn’t work like that only by choice.  He felt obligated and afraid that if he didn’t work those long hours that he would lose his job.    Ironically, he is no longer working for the company.

Back to the Start

Our life has a boundary but there is no boundary to knowledge.To use what has a boundary to pursue what is limitless is dangerous; with this knowledge, if we still go after knowledge, we will run into trouble. Do not do what is good in order to gain praise. If you do what is bad be sure to avoid the punishment. Follow the Middle Course, for this is the way to keep yourself together,to sustain your life, to care for your parents and to live for many years.

Chuang Tzu (c.360 BC – c. 275 BC)

I was asked this week who I think I am to think that I Howie Cohen could save the world.    The question came out from this person quickly, almost like the words were by design like flying daggers.    If you think that is dramatic, it was.   It was a powerful question and it, the tone, inflection and speed of the delivery left me with a pause.    I answered “I don’t want to save the world,  I just want to help people one person at a time.”     If I do that and you do that and we do small things together and this continues to happen we can make for better times.   It doesn’t mean that I am looking to answer all the questions and/or to be in charge and lead the masses.   It simply means what it means, help people one person at a time.  It makes me feel good to get immediate feedback and it makes me feel good to find happiness in the happiness of others.

If I ran my company, I wouldn’t really run my company.  I would remain a cog in the great machine and hope to keep being as purposeful as possible.   I would work to influence our people from the bottom up and top down, to meet in the middle and communicate.    That is exactly what I am looking to do.. right now.  

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The 42nd Hour

CohenMWhitney.jpgcohen_whitneyCohenAfter 42 CohenOcampo_o

It was dark, I was awake but still trying to sleep.   I woke up before the Morning Wake Up followed by “Reveille reveille, all hands heave out and trice up.”    It didn’t  matter if I had slept or not I was still tired.

The room was lit by small red lights, it smelled musty like mold, ass and fuel oil.   Everyone was moving around at the same time and grumbling.   I was on the bottom rack, which mean’t that I had to wait for the two guys above me to get up.   I had to keep my curtain closed because if I didn’t, I would see a sight that for me would be let us say unpleasant.   I actually had an old magazine picture of  Marilyn Monroe on my rack.  She was not of my generation but neither was the Navy.   It was old in this place but new at the same time.

My days and nights were long ,in the vastness of the gray walls of the box I felt trapped in (ship), time was only bound and unbound by the blow of a whistle.  In other words,  work was 24 hours a day every day and rest(sleep) was in two hour increments except on Sundays.   We knew it was Sunday because someone told us.    That was the life of a Damage Controlman or other engineering type.      These seemingly endless days will stay with me forever,  I never expected them to follow me into my civilian life.

Anagnorisis

It is that moment when the main character in a body of work makes a critical discovery.   I had this moment not long ago when I saw the garage door open up.   As it slowly crept up, I saw the shadow of a small figure coming towards me.   It was Sammy, my youngest son “Daddy.. daddy, you’re home.. you’re home!!”

SammyCohenblog42.jpgWhat is more precious than time?    It was the critical discovery that the enemy is me.

The walls aren’t haze gray but I am underway.   I am underway because I am bounded by my own box.   It is work…. and it begins at the 42nd hour.     It was not long ago that I had a dream of having a house to call my own.   It was my goal to have my own place and have the ability to raise my kids in a safer place than the Bronx.    Working hard isn’t the problem.   It is all the sacrifice and loss that is the problem.    It is my goal to create as much stability for my wife and children as I can.   If I can do that, and I can help others along the way, I would pay the price of lost time.    When the garage opens and I am coming from work or a work related trip, it isn’t long before the boys are running out of the garage or down hall of the house to greet me.   It is the best!  For that moment in time, I am a rock star and I love the hugs and kisses.   I know I am working hard for them and it brings me to tears to see them have what they need and maybe a little more.

The 42nd Hour

My work day is pretty normal, at least I think it is normal.   I wake up early morning, get all the morning business taken care of, check my emails , texts and any other messages and get myself into my car.    I plug in whatever audio book I am in the middle of and head out to work.    I may take a call or two on the way to my client site and on arrival on-site find myself in a meeting or three.    Most of my day is answering questions that are mostly random and/or I am in meetings.   I would say that I am productive from my perspective for a very short time in the day.   The day may fly by but it is still a long day,  I get back home and my wife who is a full time mom and student gets us all ready for baseball practice, homework or other activities.    We get to sit down and eat together sometime around the 6 o’clock hour but all the while my smart phone goes off or emails are popping in.     I look up at her sometimes and she just gives me that look which tells me she is disappointed but understanding at the same time.    My kids know that “Daddy has to worK” almost always.    In terms of hours logged, I would say that they don’t exactly line up.   I am almost always on.   When I do take time off, it feels like I am missing something and/or I am going to be overwhelmed if I don’t keep up.   It sort of reminds me of the old Lucy episode when she is working at a chocolate factory.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8NPzLBSBzPI  It isn’t long before you miss something and all feels like it is lost.

This introduces the concept of the 72 hour work week.    HBR wrote an article about this recently http://blogs.hbr.org/2013/09/welcome-to-the-72-hour-work-we/  in context this is more about Executives, Managers and Supervisors.   I am addressing what happens for the rest of us after the 42 hour.

What happens after 42?

I could be into hour 40 by my 3rd work day.   After work and after some home life, there is work.   As a consultant, I have to read, write, and study related concepts, keep my network fresh and up to date and report on all aspects of what I am doing for my business leadership and for my clients.  These reports will look different and feel different to my various stakeholders.    I will have to be a cheerleader, and a rock for some of my team mates and to others I will ask for help and have my own tears for people who may understand how I feel.   In a lot of the work I do, it is a foreign language, it isn’t like I can talk to my family about it and it seems that the more I learn, the more I have to read to either find ways to be conversant in my area of work or find ways to teach what I am learning.    All of this takes me time.    I have seen and heard the horror stories from others as well.  I had a manager who fell asleep in his car driving home late at night and almost got killed in a tunnel.   I have known people who work from their hospital beds and of course those of us work have worked from Disney World (GUILTY).

After the 42 hour the work seems to become more productive because you are not in some unproductive meeting or dealing with a line of people physically demanding your time.   It is also where all of my business ideas and entrepreneurial work takes place.   I have developed more business opportunities at home after 8:00PM than in the office at 10:00AM by far.    Sometimes my team-mate Wendy would come to my house and bring her family while we work on ideas, even on Sunday after she goes to Church.

No Tears But I Wonder..

I recently met with some colleagues whom I consider friends.   I asked “What does the end mean, when I say, begin with the end in mind?”   Jay didn’t hesitate and said “happiness.”   It is what a lot of us want, after all, as I said in the beginning here, it would make me happy to find and maintain stability.   Long gone are the days when you get a job and you work 9-5 for one company until the end of your career.   That being said, companies today seem to expect 60+ hour work weeks.  Even when you make great business strides they look our efforts as a tragic necessity.    With my leadership, I started using the term “after the 42nd hour” in order to differentiate when I am working on after hour but seemingly mandated areas of work.

I am not alone, I have asked others about their work lives.   Organizations are demanding more and giving back less to their employees because employees have fear that if they don’t sacrifice their blood and all of their time that they are disposable and of less value than others who are willing to do more.  Of course you have outliers who just don’t seem to give a shit and work their 42.5 hours but in the end they are viewed as less than stellar performers.

YoungHowieSomewhere between my younger self and today SamBoErin and Me

FamilyCohen I don’t want to lose everything that I started fighting so hard for in the first place.  The things that really matter after the 42nd hour.

Me and E

 

On Forgiveness

What is Forgiveness?

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Stop feeling angry or resentful toward (someone) for an offense, flaw, or mistake.

http://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/forgiveness

Mustering up genuine compassion for those who have wronged us, instead of allowing anger toward them to eat away at us, is the course of action recommended by most psychologists.

http://www.wikihow.com/Forgive

Forgiveness is the renunciation or cessation of resentmentindignation or anger as a result of a perceived offence, disagreement, or mistake, or ceasing to demand punishment or restitution.[1][2] The Oxford English Dictionary defines forgiveness as ‘to grant free pardon and to give up all claim on account of an offence or debt’. The concept and benefits of forgiveness have been explored in religious thought, the social sciences and medicine. Forgiveness may be considered simply in terms of the person who forgives including forgiving themselves, in terms of the person forgiven or in terms of the relationship between the forgiver and the person forgiven. In most contexts, forgiveness is granted without any expectation of restorative justice, and without any response on the part of the offender (for example, one may forgive a person who is incommunicado or dead). In practical terms, it may be necessary for the offender to offer some form of acknowledgment, an apology, or even just ask for forgiveness, in order for the wronged person to believe himself able to forgive.[1]

The Forgiveness Problem

I recently read a book authored by Harold S. Kushner called How Good Do We Have to Be?  http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/133804.How_Good_Do_We_Have_to_Be_

The context is that my grandmother passed away and her sister provided me some valuable and powerful insight that allowed me to sleep on and think deeply about forgiveness.   My objective is not to offend anyone here and it may happen as I have allowed my frustration and anger to bubble up to the top in order for me to just deal with it.

An Excerpt from How Good Do We Have to Be: A New Understanding of Guilt and Forgiveness by Harold S. Kushner

Rabbi Harold Kushner proclaims that God’s forgiveness enables us to accept our flaws and the failings of others. In this excerpt, he writes about transformation or to be whole before God.

“To be whole before God means to stand before Him with all of our faults as well as all of our virtues, and to hear the message of our acceptability. To be whole means to rise beyond the need to pretend that we are perfect, to rise above the fear that we will be rejected for not being perfect. And it means having the integrity not to let the inevitable moments of weakness and selfishness become permanent parts of our character. Know what is good and what is evil, and when you do wrong, realize that that was not the essential you. It was because the challenge of being human is so great that no one gets it right every time. God asks no more of us that that.

“The philosopher Immanuel Kant once wrote, “Out of timber as crooked as that which man is made of, nothing perfectly straight can be carved.” He is probably right, but the lesson to be learned from that insight is not to give up on humanity, but to give up on the search for perfection. Maybe human beings can’t fashion anything perfectly straight. But maybe what we are able to fashion, with its curves and knotholes, will be more interesting, more satisfying.

“Life is not a trap set for us by God, so that He can condemn us for failing. Life is not a spelling bee, where no one matter how many words you have gotten right, if you make one mistake you are qualified. Life is more like a baseball season, where even the best team loses one-third of all its games and even the worst team has its days of brilliance. Our goal is not to go all year without ever losing a game. Our goal is to win more than we lose, and if we can do that consistently enough, then when the end comes, we will have won it all.

“In the beginning, in the infancy of the human race as in the infancy of an individual human being, life was simple. Then we ate of the fruit of that tree and we gained the knowledge that some things are good and others are bad. We learned how painfully complex life could be.

“But, at the end, if we are brave enough to love, if we are strong enough to forgive, if we are generous enough to rejoice in another’s happiness, and if we are wise enough to know that there is enough love to go around for us all, then we can achieve a fulfillment that no other living creature will ever know. We can reenter Paradise.”

WOW 

We aren’t perfect.  In fact we do bad things to each other to get what WE want.  My friends that are religious and have deep faith will have a solid position on forgiveness.  In fact, most people I know that I have spoken with have a very clear position on forgiveness.   I thought that I did until I read this book and now that I did, I am backtracking.    When I say backtracking, I mean reassessing forgiveness.

In the recent past,  I was asking a very religious friend of mine to forgive someone else for his transgressions.  I asked for my friend to consider that this other person has grown up a lot and experienced new life altering events and that this person is essentially a newer version of himself.   My friend looked at me and said “I don’t have to forgive him , G-d forgives, not me.”   I argued my position (which was different) but ultimately religion itself is a boundary or barrier to conflict resolution and he would keep his stance.  As a matter of perspective aren’t most wars about religion?  Most conflict can be tied one way or another to religion and even if you seek religion as a crutch you may become bound by it.   Even the very basic 10 commandments is open to multiple interpretations http://www.godstenlaws.com/ten-commandments/#.UisuUWR4Zhk  

I have started to think that forgiveness may be a wolf in sheep’s clothing for humans. I said “for humans” because I am starting to think that forgiveness isn’t for us holistically.   Forgiveness is an activity.  You have to do something to forgive and you have to be aware of why you are forgiving.   You have to be able to put what bothered or hurt you behind you.   It is about closure.    I read the book and I spent some time thinking about it.  Frankly, it wasn’t days or weeks but it was enough for me to start to pull ideas together that were powerful to me.   I sat down and wrote to my aunt.    My thoughts were clear and literally poured out of me very quickly.   While I was writing, I discovered that ignorance was connected to forgiveness.  It was Kushner himself that pointed this out in the story of Adam and Eve.    I wrote this to my aunt:

Do I have forgiveness in my heart?  I have forgiveness for people that make an effort and a choice to be better.   When Rabbi Kushner advised the woman to forgive her father(for abandoning her), I found the idea that she should forgive him ridiculous.    Would you morn for Hitler?   The constant barrage of emotional abuse and destructive behavior is a holocaust on a persons emotion and psychological condition.   It forever changes that person.   We should forgive the deed of the rape but not condemn the rapist for he is human and people make mistakes.   If he never were to rape again and repent for his ways and realize that what he did was wrong.. we should forgive him not for him but for ourselves because we shouldn’t carry this anger.  It is destructive to us.    When I was a child, I was quick to forgive and I realized that forgiveness allowed for me (us) to move on.  The reason why it did was because there was closure.    Closure is an end to these feelings that you have about something and that you put those feelings behind you and move forward with a clean plate, a new start and a clear perspective.   Allow me to offer you a different idea on forgiveness.   What if forgiveness was tied to ignorance?   I would guess that you have never seen the movie Memento but in that movie a man has no short term memory.  He was left only with his long term memory in place and he is on a quest to solve his wife’s murder.   He marks his body with tattoos to tell himself the story of where he is when he forgets what happens to him.   He has to interpret the markings every time he forgets.   He loses his memory within minutes of an event.   In the end, WE find that he sees the world differently than the world sees him and that his view of the world as unkind as it is, it much kinder than the reality of the world.   I think that is ground truth.   We are ignorant of most things and when we get to see the truth, it is mostly unkind.  That is not to say that there isn’t good in the world but that reality is much harsher than our ignorance allows us to perceive.   There is good in not knowing.   If you knew that you were going to die a painful and un-purposeful death tomorrow what would you do today?  After all faith itself is belief without knowing.   I would like to think that my grandmother loved me very much, my knowledge of her tells me she didn’t and my ignorance tells me that she could have.   If I stick with my ignorance, the less I know about her the more I could embrace and love her.  The more I could find myself forgiving.  I could close the door and start fresh, except she is gone now so there isn’t anything new to start.
Forgiveness is not for the person or people who hurt you but for you?   We should forgive and not forget.  That is another statement that I love.   We should forgive but not forget because if we forget than we could allow for history to repeat itself.   Forgiveness is like the thing that we would like to achieve but never seem to get there.    Do the Native Americans forgive the people who took their land and destroyed their lives for generations?  Do the African-Americans forgive the people who enslaved them?   Do the Jewish people forgive the people who have sought to exterminate them?   Shall I continue?   We don’t forgive.  We seem to pretend to forgive but we carry our anger and our hate with us through the generations.
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What if you didn’t know to hate?   The picture above was posted by my friend Kimani on Facebook one day ago.  What if the knowledge tree was the curse?  I am angry but not a G-d.  I am angry at man.  If a person does something over and again and exhibits consistent unrelenting behavior, should we forgive them?   We should forgive the person and not the deed itself?   I have written about conflict on this blog in the past.   An oversimplification of the work (in conflict) is that intractable conflicts are extremely complex in nature, so complex that it is difficult to sustain a mental map of factors that influence the conflict.  We act to simplify conflict, and, in fact, the tendency is to over-simplify, to reduce the conflict to a simple us/them, pro/con, I’m right/you’re wrong.  The complexity of the conflict is too much to handle cognitively.  Once the conflict is simplified, opposing forces can dig in, increasing intractability.

An easy way to simplify intractable conflict is to forgive.   What if we don’t seek to forgive?  What if we can’t forgive?  What if forgiveness itself doesn’t matter?   How about we turn forgiveness over to G-d and we just realize that for most of humanity that forgiveness is something we would like to aim for but depending on the deed in question may never attain.

Ignorance = ?

I wouldn’t say that ignorance is bliss per se but I would say that if we put less effort into having to forgive and more effort in having to forget then maybe we would simply be happier.   Maybe the demons that keep you up at night wouldn’t haunt you if you didn’t know they existed.    I told my aunt that the punishment for being disconnected is being forgotten.   Think about this.. in less than a few generations it is very possible that YOU will be forgotten.   All of your good and all of your bad could be nothing but a moment in time that no longer exists that no one knows of.    The interesting thing about this is that if you carried hate, love or indifference those tacit inside feelings and emotion may itself convey.  This historical narrative of people will carry across the generations.   Where is forgiveness there?

FIN

 

Fukushima vs. Syria

Harm or Help

If America is going to do something productive for the world and take on responsibility to police the world, shouldn’t we be spending more time in Japan?

I don’t normally watch the news but in the last day or so… I have.   I am absolutely disgusted with the media and not interested in perpetuating what they call or identify as any kind of journalism.   It is a freaking circus on television with commentators and opinion makers talking about world events like they are commenting on a sports game.   “You see the American people want..”  and “We are going to see Congress come up to the plate and..”  It is a joke and it is all for entertainment.   We are entertaining ourselves into oblivion.   We have real world serious issues here that are affecting us and all we can do from a media perspective is call the game.

I can come up with a very long and extensive list of things that America should be doing to help our world.    I am pretty sure that most of us would agree that we need to solve problems in health, energy, economy and global stabilization (warming or not).   I am going to be clear and honest here, I don’t care about Syria right now.   I care about the fact that our food supply isn’t safe.   I care about the fact that my children are inheriting  a foreign world that I don’t recognize.  I care about the fact that our country seems to be more divided than ever and we are arguing about nonsense.

Here is the deal, the Fukushima nuclear plant is leaking radioactive water into the sea.  Who is going to jail for this?  Who is being punished?  What is the world doing to prevent more damage to the earth?  How many lives will be lost?  What is the economic costs?

There are Ideas for Solutions

 Arnie Gundersen, a nuclear engineer with Fairewinds Energy Education,  who has visited the Fukushima power plant in the past, said a solution would be to dig a two-metre wide trench down to bedrock level and fill it with a material called zeolite: a volcanic material that comes from Mother Nature.  

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2013/08/28/japan-fukushima-radiation-leak.html.  

“It’s incredibly good at filtering radioactive isotopes. So whatever is inside the fence will stay inside and whatever is outside the fence would be clean,” said Gundersen, who estimates the price tag for such a project would be around $10 billion.  Read more: http://www.ctvnews.ca/sci-tech/japan-s-fukushima-nuclear-plant-leaks-what-you-need-to-know-1.1423249#ixzz2deX4BQVd

World Nuclear Industry Status Report http://www.worldnuclearreport.org/-2013-.html

I submit that we look at outcome based initiatives to see where we invest our resources in order to receive the best value for our global investment.  I am looking to keep this simple.  How much will it cost to attack Syria?  What are the outcomes?  What does the US hope to achieve by hitting Syria?   Last I checked, when you punch someone in the face, even a bully it may only cause more fighting and tension.    The region is unstable and has been for years.  The Washington Post spells it out in short order here http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/08/29/9-questions-about-syria-you-were-too-embarrassed-to-ask/.

Bottom line,  before we go off and start another war, we should get our big brains together and money to start cleaning up Fukushima.   Let me be clear on why.   We will have to deal with the same type of nuclear plant disaster in the next 20-30 years on our soil.

The only plant in Vermont will close soon.   “America’s aging nuclear industry has been facing a firestorm of criticism ever since the March 2011 meltdown in Fukushima.  Despite the fact that the Fukushima failure was due to negligence — the operator defied its engineers’ advice to waterproof backup generators to save on costs — the incident has had a powerful impact in shifting American public opinion against nuclear power. That shift has helped the government escape criticism for giving solar and wind power handouts that it won’t give nuclear power.  It has also driven some states to try to kick out aging nuclear plants — including Vermont.

Of the 104 reactors in 65 commercial plants in 31 states in the U.S., twenty-three — or roughly a fourth — are 40 years old or older.  Another forty-two reactors are 30 years old or older.  These older reactors tend to not only be the least efficient — causing them to struggle more to compete with cheap fossil fuel power and artificially cheap alternative energy — they also require more in maintenance.”

These companies will be broke and they will walk away from these filthy death plants waving the white flag.    I would say that would force the US to have to prepare and deal with two fundamental issues.  The first would be stable and clean power generation and the second would be cleaning up the mess that is left over from nuclear power generation.   If we can figure out ways to offset or deal with radiation by some how neutralizing contaminated waste products, we will be prepared to deal with 70-year-old nuclear facility shut down.     If you aren’t angry by now, you should be.   I sure wish that our politicians didn’t feel as if they deserved a break (because they don’t).

Before we lob anything over at Syria we should know why what we are attacking for and what the positive outcome will be..

If there isn’t one, then send our Congress and Senate over to Fukushima and let us see them “roll up their sleeves”  for our future.