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I try to be a tolerant person, but I generally don’t exhibit a lot of tolerance where religion is concerned. But I think the decision of the French justice minister to ban a woman from jury service for wearing a headscarf is wrong and dramatically illiberal.

I’d normally have sympathy with the French determination to avoid ideological symbols in schools and courts. But would they ban someone wearing a crucifix (a rather common decoration in France)? A Star of David? I’m happy to be proved wrong, but I think those symbols would pass without comment.

Book choice 

Kevin Drum is a bit sceptical about Bill Clinton’s announced 21 favourite books. His wife’s work apart, I think it’s a pretty decent list although mine would be very different. I particularly applaud his inclusion of Taylor Branch and Yeats.

“I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” Maya Angelou
“Meditations,” Marcus Aurelius
“The Denial of Death,” Ernest Becker
“Parting the Waters: America in the King Years 1954-1963,” Taylor Branch
“Living History,” Hillary Rodham Clinton
“Lincoln,” David Herbert Donald
“The Four Quartets,” T.S. Eliot
“Invisible Man,” Ralph Ellison
“The Way of the World: From the Dawn of Civilizations to the Eve of the Twenty-First Century,” David Fromkin
“One Hundred Years of Solitude,” Gabriel Garcia Marquez
“The Cure at Troy: A Version of Sophocles’ Philoctetes,” Seamus Heaney
“King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism in Colonial Africa,” Adam Hochschild
“The Imitation of Christ,” Thomas a Kempis
“Homage to Catalonia,” George Orwell
“The Evolution of Civilizations: An Introduction to Historical Analysis,” Carroll Quigley
“Moral Man and Immoral Society: A Study in Ethics and Politics,” Reinhold Niebuhr
“The Confessions of Nat Turner,” William Styron
“Politics as a Vocation,” Max Weber
“You Can’t Go Home Again,” Thomas Wolfe
“Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny,” Robert Wright
“The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats,” William Butler Yeats

Travel day 

Today is a travel day, hallelujah! I’m not particularly looking forward to 22 hours in airplanes, but I am looking forward to getting home. One slight regret: it looks like I’m leaving on the very day when summer has decided to come and stay in Melbourne. In weather terms, late November in London is not quite so appealing.

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