The Competitive Enterprise Institute Daily Update
Issues in the News
Thousands of lawsuits against Merck & Co. swamp courthouses to meet the deadline for legal claims relating to the painkiller Vioxx.
“Frederick Humeston knew the odds were stacked against him in Atlantic City’s casinos, but his lawyer thought the odds were in his favor in one Atlantic City courtroom. Humeston was suing makers of the anti-inflammatory drug Vioxx, and despite weaknesses in his case, he stood to make millions. His gamble proved wrong. That may be bad news for him, but it's good news for the rest of us.”
Oil prices continue to decline, now to below $61 a barrel.
“Perhaps the most influential commentator to address the issue was Thomas Friedman. In an essay in Foreign Policy magazine he drew attention to a strong correlation between the price of oil and the level of freedom worldwide, as measured by various indices of freedom. He suggested that the dynamic worked so that tyrannical regimes were fed by high oil prices and that the only way to increase freedom worldwide would be to shift away from an oil-based economy.”
Computer security firms protest Microsoft’s refusal to share development details of its new operating system.
“Private solutions are the only real hope we have for decreasing cybersecurity threats, given that previous government efforts to regulate the Internet—for example, outlawing spam in 2004—have not lived up to expectations. Political anonymity and commercial anonymity are not the same thing, and the distinction requires better appreciation. Over the coming tumultuous period of dealing with online threats, policymakers should allow the experimentation necessary to cope with today's lack of online authentication to proceed with minimal interference.”
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