"This is where he sat and lied to me," a furious George W. Bush recently told a visiting European head of state. "He" is German Chancellor Gerhard Schroder, with whom Bush believed he had a deal--private acquiescence on Iraq in return for Bush's not pressing for public support in the run-up to last September's German elections.
"Schroder is stupid." That's how a Berlin daily, Die Welt, sums up German public opinion. A more intellectual--and vicious--insult these days is to compare Chancellor Gerhard Schroder to Heinrich Bruning, the hapless Weimar-era chancellor whose incompetent handling of the Great Depression helped bring on Adolf Hitler.Ouch.
When the German automaker BMW decided to build a new assembly plant for its 3 Series sedan, executives scouted 250 locations around the world. They considered sites in France and the Czech Republic, where lower wages and a friendly regulatory climate meant they could operate more cheaply and efficiently than in high-cost Germany.
Germans glued to their TV sets Sunday night called it a political thriller: the tightest election cliffhanger in their nation's history. When votes were counted in the early hours of the morning, incumbent Chancellor Gerhard Schroder had managed--just--to cling to power.
One of Germany's favorite Internet sites, these days, is the Kanzlergenerator. Start with a grinning image of Der Kanzler, Gerhard Schroder. With a few clicks, mix in a couple of facial features from his challenger in next week's national election, Bavarian Premier Edmund Stoiber.
Baron Wolfgang Von Munchhausen gets a premium price for his premium crops. Ten years ago, after getting ill from some of the 125 different pesticides he was spraying on his 300 acres of wheat, rye and other grains, he converted his farm in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein to organic agriculture, eschewing chemical fertilizers and toxic pesticides in favor of crop rotation, farmyard manure and other traditional measures.
German vacationers on the sun-soaked Mediterranean island of Majorca get a special kind of welcome these days at Es Trenc. On the beach encircling the turquoise bay, someone has spray-painted a one-word message to them on the side of an old concrete shelter: raus--"Beat it!"--along with a giant swastika.Majorcans are getting thoroughly sick of tourists.
"You are where you stay," hotel owner Ian Schrager once said. If that's true, then many of us are Holiday Inns. And by the same token, many of us are going to become much more hip, as chic designer hotels come to dominate the industry.Judging by properties like the new W Times Square in New York, the days of the generic hotel are numbered.