Wolf Richter

Don’t Try This At Home

A couple in Nagasaki, Japan, made sashimi out of a fugu he’d caught in a nearby bay. An hour after eating it, her lips and limbs got numb. He also developed symptoms. The neurotoxin in the otherwise comical fish was beginning to paralyze them.

Tokyo Tidbit: New Prime Minister Embarks on his Descent

All Japanese prime ministers since Koizumi slither down a steep slope for 8 – 15 months. When their popularity drops into the teens, they’re axed. The latest new guy is Yoshihiko Noda. His popularity during the first round of polls is still high. But oh no! His new ministers are talking.

Obama: Gut Social Security Now, Don’t Wait Till The Election

Incredible that a Democrat would propose that our Social Security system should be gutted starting immediately to get an up-tick in GDP just before the election. But President Obama’s proposal to cut payroll taxes in half will do just that.

Remember him? Went after Social Security too.

Germany Special: Divorce, Remarry, Get Fired

The right of German religious organizations to terminate an employee for violating their moral codex, even in deeply private situations, has been affirmed by the Federal Labor Court. And they’re among the top employers in Germany! If you’re a divorcee and work for a Catholic hospital, you may get fired if you remarry. Heck, you may get fired for getting divorced.

Let’s Just Raid Social Security

Out of one side of its mouth, our political system talks about reforming Social Security to preserve it for a few more years, and out of the other side of its mouth, it proposes to expedite its demise. Where’s the duct tape?

Bailout Rebellion In Germany

“We’re on the way to a worldwide financial dictatorship governed by bankers,” said Peter Gauweiler, German Member of Parliament. “We don’t support Greece. We support 25 or 30 worldwide investment banks and their insane activities.”

Tokyo Tidbit: Yakuza Undergarments

The undergarment of the guys in the photo of “Yakuza: We Have to Evolve Our Business Model” (below) is a fundoshi, the traditional Japanese undergarment for men. Nowadays, it’s mainly used during festivals to show off machismo—to gird their loins for….

In the Bowels the Jobs Report: 15.4 Million Missing Jobs

The long-term problem in the horrendous jobs report is the strangely inconspicuous “Employment-Population Ratio” that has been nosediving for over a decade. It’s the definition of a comatose economy.

Yakuza: ‘We Have To Evolve Our Business Model’

“And we have to improve our image,” said Masatoshi Kumagai, one of the bosses of the Japanese yakuza, in an interview with French reporters. Yakuza are on decline, he said, and if they don’t change their business model, they might cease to exist.

Tokyo Tidbit: Disaster Specials

An earthquake struck Tokyo around noon on September 1, 1923, while people were cooking lunch over open fires: Over 100,000 people burned to death in the city “built of wood and paper.” Now, September 1 is “Disaster Prevention Day.” And it’s time to go shopping for foldable helmets.