Law Religion Culture Review

Exploring the intersections of law, religion and culture. Copyright by Richard J. Radcliffe. All rights reserved.

Friday, December 31, 2004

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! The beauty of the annual calendar change (albeit perhaps merely superficial or symbolic) is that it provides an opportunity to reflect on areas to change, create, better and innovate. I embrace the challenge, and in the honor of the season have cobbled together my own list. However, the focus should be on solutions not just problem identification. For example, much of political discourse centers on problem flagellation. As I was driving today, I was listening to a political talk radio show (not Mr. Hewitt’s who was on commercial) where yet another problem was identified and belabored. It is not very helpful to rant about the “need”. In fact, it may be counterproductive to the speaker to the extent it causes listeners to be overwhelmed or at times angered by the scope and duration of the alleged problem, and the lack of power to address it. I think a true mark of leadership is moving quickly from identifying problems to designing, and then implementing, solutions. By contrast, a true mark of a nonleader is whining ceaselessly about problems.

Thursday, December 30, 2004


Let me briefly posit two interrelated movie recommendations. Check out Monster and then follow it up with Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer. The latter is a documentary about the person depicted in Monster. The backstory is amazing. Among other things, the odyssey through the legal system is eye-opening; check out her lawyer who advertised himself on television as "Dr. Legal". In addition, the documentary will give one even greater appreciation for the Oscar-winning performance of Ms. Theron.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Book Reviews, Part II.

Got Phil Jackson's, The Last Season: A Team in Search of its Soul. The book is surprisingly frank about the inner workings of a team, including players, coaches and executives. If you are a Lakers fan, I recommend it as interesting reading about the team's dynamics and dysfunctions during the season. If you want to learn more about coaching theory and practice, I would recommend Jackson's Sacred Hoops. Among other things, he describes his religious views, which are fairly syncretistic and eclectic. He draws together strands of Christianity, Buddhism and Native American thought. I agree that the principles of such seemingly disparate religions are not mutually exclusive. For another book that marries religious thinking across lines, see The Art of Happiness by the Dali Lama and Dr. Cutler (a psychiatrist).

Monday, December 27, 2004

Book Reviews, Part I.

I have hammered out three (3) books in the past week: Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America by James Webb; Think Like a Billionaire by Donald Trump; and The Games Do Count by Brian Kilmeade. Think Like is remarkably superficial. The Games Do Count is a compliation of short chapters each dedicated to a non-sports celebrity and his or her exploits in sports. The standout of the three is Webb's tome. It provides a sweep of history, some political commentary and even some autobiographical information about the author (a former Secretary of the Navy).