Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist, author/historian of science, tech, & The New Deal. Read my blog The Economy Hub mhiltzik@latimes.com

Fines may not be enough to punish PG&E for its misdeeds

latimes.com — Isn't it time to put Pacific Gas & Electric out of business? California's largest utility company, PG&E Corp. long has been one of the state's most troublesome corporate citizens. The September 2010 natural gas explosion in San Bruno, Calif., in which the company bears responsibility for the deaths of eight people and the leveling of an entire neighborhood, is only its most spectacular misdeed.

These doctors are trying to turn the tide against 'quack' Dr. Oz

latimes.com — Physicians are finally speaking out against Dr. Mehmet Oz and the "quack treatments and cures" he promotes to the huge audience of his television show. Led by Henry I. Miller, a physician, former Food and Drug Administration official ,and fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution, 10 doctors from across the country urged Columbia University to drop Dr. Oz from its faculty.

Silicon Valley's foundation stone: Moore's Law turns 50

latimes.com — Fifty years ago Sunday, Electronics Magazine published a very technical paper by a youthful pioneer in the silicon chip business named Gordon Moore. Inelegantly titled "Cramming more components onto integrated circuits," the article observed that the number of electronic components then fitting on a chip--at least in the laboratory--was about 60.

Brownback signs spectacularly punitive Kansas welfare bill

latimes.com — Brownback did it. Not satisfied with cratering his state's economy, cutting education budgets and rescinding long-established job protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender workers, on Thursday Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback signed a punitive, intrusive and counterproductive measure placing wholly unnecessary restrictions on how Kansas relief recipients can spend their benefits.

A U.S. court quashes the dopiest Obamacare lawsuit of all

latimes.com — It is widely held that the dopiest anti-Obamacare lawsuit is King v. Burwell, a conservative contrivance that tortures four words in the Affordable Care Act to assert that consumer healthcare subsidies in three dozen states should be invalidated.

Chris Christie's big Presidential idea: torch Social Security

latimes.com — If there's any immutable rule in politics, it should be: beware of candidates who try to be "bold" merely for the sake of looking bold. Chris Christie, trying desperately to keep his Presidential hopes alive, wants to look bold, and he's not above throwing millions of elderly Americans under his campaign bus to do so.

The tax-prep industry lobbies hard to keep Tax Day a torture for you

latimes.com — It's the eve of April 15, when America enters the final phase of its annual tax-preparation torture. So it's proper to recognize the companies that have lobbied hard to make sure the process remains as agonizing as possible for the average taxpayer. Step forward, Intuit and H&R Block!

Reporting on quacks and pseudoscience: the problem for journalists

latimes.com — Recently, we raised the question of how political journalists should deal with candidates for President who mouth the quackery of climate change denial. But the problem of how to write about pseudoscience goes much broader. In part that's because quack science has penetrated so deeply into public discourse--witness the huge audience tuning in to the egregious Dr. Oz.

How the states suck the fairness out of America's tax system

latimes.com — Complaints by and on behalf of America's wealthy about their crushingly unfair tax burden typically reach a crescendo right about now, with the approach of April 15. They also employ highly refined cherry-picking, by referring almost exclusively to the federal income tax, which indeed is designed to be progressive (the tax rate rises as income rises).

The wrong way to think about California water

latimes.com — Water is complicated. Nowhere is that more true than in California, and never more than during a major drought. That may be why so much of the debate about how to manage California's scarce water supply is misguided. The national press brims with photographs of emerald-green Palm Springs golf courses fenced off from sandy desert.
More Articles →
Apr 19, 2015

Isn't it time to put California's largest utility out of business? A lesson for utility regulators nationwide: fw.to/Mgfk0QB

Apr 19, 2015

Put this co. out of business: PG&E's safety performance may have gotten worse after the 2010 explosion that killed 8: fw.to/Mgfk0QB

Apr 18, 2015

It may be time to put California's biggest utility out of business: fw.to/Mgfk0QB

Apr 18, 2015

These doctors are finally trying to turn the tide against 'quack' Dr. Oz fw.to/82SvuxR

Apr 18, 2015

A U.S. court quashes the dopiest Obamacare lawsuit of all fw.to/c2EqNjY

Apr 18, 2015

How low can he go? Brownback signs spectacularly punitive Kansas welfare bill fw.to/mxLOzSB

Apr 18, 2015

Silicon Valley's foundation stone: Moore's Law turns 50 fw.to/YkEzcth

Apr 17, 2015

Moore's Law turns 50--a look at its past and its future fw.to/YkEzcth

Apr 17, 2015

Should Columbia University sever ties with the charlatan Dr. Oz to protect its own reputation? These doctors say yes fw.to/82SvuxR

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