For anyone whose interested, the Planet Money blog and podcast is a great place to start. Their reporting and research is done by actual economists rather than ideologues and talking heads
Planet Money is a joke. None of their correspondents are economists. David Kestenbaum is a journalist who happens to have a PhD in physics. Adam Davidson is not an economist; his background is journalism. Davidson clearly has a Milton Friedman bias in his economic reporting; just look at his blog posts on the subject of economic stimulus.
For a critical look at NPR (Nice Polite Republicans) check out the NPR Check blog.
Don't we want to encourage more fuel-efficient road vehicles? Seems like upping the gas tax would be a good way to do that.
Perhaps once we're all driving electric vehicles we might then consider a per-mile tax. Until then, the incursion on civil liberties and privacy from vehicle tracking doesn't seem to be outweighed by the societal benefits.
It seems to me that these vehicle-tracking ideas are a clever political scam that combines avoidance of a politically-costly raising of the gas tax, corporate welfare for some well-connected companies, and a plausible-sounding policy-wonkish cover story.
That's a little unfair; you've no citations in your post
However, the fact that batons leave marks (physical evidence) whereas tasers do not implies that police are less likely to inappropriately use batons than tasers, since the inappropriate use of batons results in evidence visible to a board of review.
It's clear from news reports that police are overusing Tasers by using them as torture devices in circumstances where, if they had instead beaten the subject with a baton, the evidence of physical injury would have resulted in the censure or firing of the police officer.
It seems that there are quite a few incidents wherein police officers have reached for their TASER rather than reaching for their deescalation skills. I don't think you can blame this on the tool though -- you have to blame it on the operator. These same personalities would probably have wielded the police baton in the same inappropriate manner.
The police baton is less likely to result in death.
I bet the human brain is a kludge. -- Marvin Minsky