A review of The Arab Gulf States: Beyond Oil and Islam by Sean Foley. The Case for a Middle East Union: A majestic region-wide union may well transform the strategic calculus of the sceptics and the spoilers. Arab autocracy: For good or ill, change is coming to Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Bashar al-Assad has maintained his country’s key position in Mideast politics by drawing out the peace process and turning it into warfare by other means. A review of books on Lebanon (and more and more). Shlomo Ben-Ami on Turkey’s rise and the decline of Pan-Arabism. "The desert of Arabia is America's last frontier”: The story of the cowboy oilmen who branded the Gulf and the Bedouin who followed in their footsteps. A review of Democracy in Modern Iran: Islam, Culture, and Political Change by Ali Mirsepassi. A review of Sayyid Qutb and the Origins of Radical Islamism by John Calvert. Bad politics is better than no politics: Why Iraq's bloody democracy isn't so terrible. Operation Sabotage: Eli Lake on our secret war against Iran. From The Economist, a special report on Egypt. Not unlike the role oil has played, water is going to be increasingly important in determining power-sharing strategies and political alliances in the Middle East. Is Yemen the next Afghanistan? Al Qaeda may have found the perfect combination of tribal hospitality, chaos and military opportunity. A review of Jihad in Saudi Arabia: Violence and Pan-Islamism since 1979 by Thomas Hegghammer. An interview with Mohamed ElBaradei: "This is a historical moment for Egypt".

A new issue of Vice is out. From Psychology and Neuroscience, a special section on the neurobiology of stress. This is what many successful female comedians, from Joan Rivers to Sarah Silverman, have always known: if your lines are threatening, your face had better not be. A review of A Short History of Celebrity by Fred Inglis (and more). Does executive experience really make for better presidents? From population and environment to arms trade and war, the data visualized in The Little Book of Shocking Global Facts covers some of the most astounding facts about the world we live in. The Death — or the Evolution — of the Midlist Author: Is the publishing crunch killing midlist authors, or just forcing them to move on? A review of The Obama Victory: How Media, Money, and Message Shaped the 2008 Election by Kate Kenski, Bruce Hardy, and Kathleen Hall Jamieson. If there were such a thing as Emerging American Essayist Laureate, John D’Agata would be it. Two decades after government-imposed prudishness ended with the Soviet collapse, Russians still shy away from embracing European-style sexual mores. Disaster Politics: An article on why earthquakes rock democracies less. The Baby Business: U.S. couples adopting from abroad often think they're helping vulnerable couples — the reality is more complex and poorly regulated. Lines of Flight: Does the locavore movement offer an alternative to corporatism?

Benny Y. T. Tai (Hong Kong): Constitutional Game: An Analytical Framework of Constitutional Law and Constitutional Politics. From the Rutgers Journal of Law and Religion, James Lanshe (Oxford): Morality and the Rule of Law in American Jurisprudence; Adam Fulginiti (Rutgers): The Soul and Its Impact on Life and Death Choices: A Constitutional Study of Abortion, the Right to Die and Other Bioethical Dilemmas; and Douglas Laycock (Michigan): The Religious Exemptions Debate. An interview with Chris W. Bonneau and Melinda Gann Hall, authors of In Defense of Judicial Elections. Conservatives v. Libertarians: The debate over judicial activism divides former allies. A review of Efficiency Instead of Justice? Searching for the Philosophical Foundations of the Economic Analysis of Law by Klaus Mathis. A review of Race, Rights, and Justice by J. Angelo Corlett. It’s time to set aside the (nearly finished) battles over social and cultural issues — and develop a progressive jurisprudence of economic justice. A review of Law, Informal Rules, and Economic Performance: The Case for Common Law by Svetozar Pejovich. Gauging views of the American people on Supreme Court justices suggests that while empathy is in the eye of the beholder, it’s a value most people favor on the bench. A review of The Living Constitution by David A. Strauss and The Will of the People: How Public Opinion Has Influenced the Supreme Court and Shaped the Meaning of the Constitution by Barry Friedman.

A new issue of the Cato Institute's Regulation is out. From The Chronicle, Sean Wilentz and Julian E. Zelizer on the Recent Presidential Past: George W. Bush’s two terms should not be left to the consideration of political scientists and economists. The Old Spice Man’s Internet Triumph: Tricia Romano on the evolution of black male sex symbols. The Volcker Rule: John Cassidy on Obama’s economic adviser Paul Volcker and his battles over the financial-reform bill. Meet the half-eaten brains behind the cover of Zombie Economics: How Dead Ideas Still Walk Among Us by John Quiggin. Flavorwire on stereotyping people by their favorite websites. What is the etiquette for wishing well a rapier wit who has delivered less cordial sentiments to so many? Christopher Hitchens's cancer raises the question. Jeff Sharlet on the strange moves of The Economist. Apocalypse 101: Learn what you'll need to stockpile to survive Armageddon in 2012, based on what the Soviets did in 1991. Corporate Shrill: Is Obama a stooge for big business? From OkTrends, a look at the big lies people tell in online dating. Panics cause strange behavior, as true of financial markets as it is of the public intellectuals who write about them — take the case of Richard Posner. Are there too many people? Chris Williams on population, hunger, and environmental degradation. From The Remnant, Anthony Mazzone on Barbarism Rising: The black hole where piety used to be.

From Island Studies Journal, Russell King (Sussex): Geography, Islands and Migration in an Era of Global Mobility; Agneta Karlsson (Aland): Sub-National Island Jurisdictions as Configurations of Jurisdictional Powers and Economic Capacity: Nordic Experiences from Aland, Faroes and Greenland; Owe Ronstrom (Gotland): Island Words, Island Worlds: The Origins and Meanings of Words for "Islands" in North-West Europe; Stephen A. Royle (QUB): "Small Places like St Helena have Big Questions to Ask": The Inaugural Lecture of a Professor of Island Geography; a review of Islands: A Trip through Time and Space by Peter Conrad; a review of Remote Control: Governance Lessons for and from Small, Insular and Remote Regions; and a review of The Case for Non-Sovereignty: Lessons from Sub-National Island Jurisdictions by Godfrey Baldacchino and David Milne. A look at why New Zealand is a lifestyle superpower. From New Internationalist, a profile of the island republic Sao Tome and Principe. Michael Ruse on why the Azores are worth knowing better. Indonesia is a democracy, but many Papuans do not want to be part of it (and more). Geocurrents takes a look at news from the Autonomous Region of Bougainville in Papua New Guinea, and a series on ethnic strife and cultural solidarity and territorial disputes in Melanesia. Caribbean crime-fighting: Wracked by violence, the islands recruit foreign police chiefs. No country is an island: Whether volcanic or nuclear, disasters anywhere in our interconnected world affect us all.