Iain McLean (Oxford): The 1909 budget and the destruction of the unwritten British Constitution. From Standpoint, Geoffrey Robertson on why we need a British Bill of Rights; how European are the British? Piers Paul Read and David Heathcoat-Amory debate; and Nick Cohen on a reader's guide to Thatcherism. If Britain's got talent, why are we being run by foreigners? Big Bother: How a million surveillance cameras in London are proving George Orwell wrong. A review of The Best of Punch Cartoons: 2000 Humor Classics. From TLS, a review essay on Georgian London. A look at the unlikely origin of fish and chips. From Red Pepper, a review of Memoirs of a Radical Lawyer by Michael Mansfield (and an interview). Does British foreign secretary David Miliband, the child of Holocaust survivors and New Labour wonk, have the “icicle in the heart” it takes to become prime minister? A review of The Cult of St George in Medieval England by Jonathan Good. Daytime TV, ties civic and sexual: Gary Day learns how Britons made a modern nation and made love, not least on campus. A review of The Defence of the Realm: The Authorised History of MI5 by Christopher Andrew (and more). From Spiked, a review of Why England Lose by Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski; a review of The Bully State: The End of Tolerance by Brian Monteith; and the barriers to a Republic of Britain: Brendan O’Neill says republicans face two problems today — the elite’s continuing distrust of the electorate, and the electorate’s distrust of itself. A review of Jolly Wicked, Actually: The 100 Words That Make Us English by Tony Thorne.

From The Nation, Jacqueline Stevens on America's Secret ICE Castles: Immigration agents are holding US residents in unlisted and unmarked subfield offices, while ICE agents regularly impersonate civilians — OSHA inspectors, insurance agents, religious workers — in order to arrest longtime US residents who have no criminal history (and an interview with Stevens). From the Acton Institute, Anthony B. Bradley on MTV’s wack morality. God Among Us: Z.N. Lupetin on the cult of celebrity. David Harvey on reshaping economic geography and the World Development Report 2009. A review of Possum Living: How to Live Well Without a Job and with (Almost) No Money by Dolly Freed. Ollie Atkins was there when Alger Hiss’ career was destroyed and Richard Nixon’s was made; he was still around the two men’s careers passed each other in the opposite direction. A review of Freedom for Sale: How We Made Money and Lost Our Liberty by John Kampfner. From Skeptic, Steuart Campbell discusses the evidence of the phenomenon known as ball lightning; and a review of Robert Wright’s The Evolution of God. The use of humour to disguise an intellectual challenge: A review of Playing the Fool: Subversive Laughter in Troubled Times by Ralph Lerner. Game for anything: It was Professor Plum with the candlestick, says Gary Day, who is fascinated by a history of board games. From TLS, a review of books on Samuel Johnson. How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Borg: The idea that there are totalitarianisms of the left as well as totalitarianisms of the right is one of the more insidious ideas of the 20th Century.

And please take advantage of Special Holiday Savings from Bookforum, with offers of 1 year (5 issues) for only $12.00, or 2 years (10 issues) for $24.00.

Max Blumenthal on how the “salvation narrative” projected onto Barack Obama created false expectations on the left and invited his demonisation by the right (and from TPMCafe, a book club on Republican Gomorrah). Has an Obama Doctrine emerged yet? Ed Kilgore on conservative crocodile tears about "corporatism". How anyone can call a plan to spend $200 billion a year on Americans in need a defeat for progressives is a mystery. Avishai Margalit on Obama and the rotten compromise (and a panel on On Compromise and Rotten Compromises). $2 Trillion Man: Simon Anholt on how Obama saved Brand America. Chris Cillizza on 5 myths about a president's first year. Can Obama face the "unspeakable"? If there’s one book President Obama should read over the holidays, it is JFK and the Unspeakable. Jonathan Chait on how Obama became the unemployment fall guy and on the rise of Republican nihilism: What happened to all those GOP ideas? (and more on other visions of right-wing apocalypse) Rachel Tabachnick on the new Christian Zionism and the Jews: A love/hate relationship. Words can hurt you: An interview with Mark Potok on racists, militants, and their favorite pundits. From VDare, is Obama really preparing for civil war? Just in case, Chuck Baldwin suggests a survival list. John Sides on three myths about political independents. Leon Wieseltier on Platon's Cave: What these silly sanitizations really capture is the American moment, the Obama coolness. Does Obama hate liberals? Marc Ambinder wonders. EJ Dionne on why progressives need to stop screaming and start organizing for the next health care fight.

Adam Lowther (AFRI): The Logic of the Nuclear Arsenal. Michael S. Gerson (CNA): Conventional Deterrence in the Second Nuclear Age. Jonathan Granoff (GSI): The Process of Zero. From Daedalus, a special issue on nuclear power is out, including an essay by Thomas Schelling on a world without nuclear weapons? A world without nuclear weapons: Six wrong-headed cliches about disarmament. David Krieger and Richard Falk, longtime opponents of nuclear weapons, reflect on heady times as the Obama administration puts disarmament back on the map. Farewell to nuclear nonproliferation: An article on the failing diplomatic effort to contain the bomb's spread. From The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, Richard Rhodes on reducing the nuclear threat: The argument for public safety. When more is less: “Redundancy” may actually reduce nuclear security. A look at the future nuclear powers you should be worried about. A review of Atomic Obsession: Nuclear Alarmism from Hiroshima to Al Qaeda by John Mueller. A review of A Fiery Peace in a Cold War: Bernard Schriever and the Ultimate Weapon by Neil Sheehan. Iranian nuclear scientist Shahram Amiri goes missing in Saudi Arabia. Mohamed ElBaradei on why everyone in the Middle East wants to be American, what the neocons hath wrought, and the continuing realities of a nuclear world (and an interview). Cullen Murphy spotlights historian Garry Wills, who argues that the Bomb has blasted U.S. democracy. From Judgment and Decision Making, an article on emerging sacred values: Iran’s nuclear program. The world’s approximately 23,300 nuclear weapons are stored at an estimated 111 locations in 14 countries. The coming nuclear crisis: The world is running out of uranium and nobody seems to have noticed.