Archive for Berlin wall

Overnight: Spreewald Canals near Berlin, Germany

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Spreewald Canal south of Berlin, Germany

Spreewald Canal south of Berlin, Germany

I have always wanted to visit the Spreewald - the forest which surrounds the Spree River, south of Berlin.  I've always been fascinated by canals and rivers of all sorts and one of the high points of my time in camp years ago was a weeklong trip into the Maine wilderness.

The Spreewald is my no means wilderness and was occupied over 1000 years ago but it has remained mostly undeveloped (though it's now a tourist destination).  When I studied in Berlin, it was 'behind the Iron Curtain', as strange as that phrase sounds years after the Berlin wall fell and East and West Germany were reunified.  If you'd like to read more about it, here's the Wiki.  If you'd like to just enjoy a leisurely trip through the canals, here's a video which will let you do just that:

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Do You Have ORD? If You're In The GOP You Probably Do

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Ronald Reagan

You may be wondering what ORD is and if you have it, is it curable?

Well, ORD is a phrase, coined by Republican political strategist, Ford O'Connell, who worked on Sen. John McCain's (R-Ariz.) 2008 presidential campaign. Though McCain lost to Obama, O'Connor made a name for himself in political circles as a man who understands the national branding of a party.

ORD is Obsessive Reagan Disorder and O'Connell ranks it highly as a reason the Republicans can't move forward. From The Hill:

Rule #1 of the political analyst's newly released book, "Hail Mary: The 10-Step Playbook for Republican Recovery," is: "Ronald Reagan is dead. Accept it."

"The Reagan fixation is a drag on the future success of the GOP at the national level. It undermines the candidates because it becomes a crutch for their inability to articulate an actual agenda or a forward-looking vision," he writes.

Republicans have always excelled in hindsight. Sadly for them, America is looking forward, for a vision of the future. Reagan ain't it.

I'm a strong believer that Reagan was bad for America and never did understand why the Republicans fixated on this guy. I know that will spike the hairs on the back of some people's necks, but he was a failure as a president. His trickle down economics nearly ruined the generation that followed him. It took Clinton to clean up that spill.

He was guilty of trading arms for hostages (Iran) and the military drug scandals down in Nicaragua. He was corrupt and sadly, quite ill during the final two years of his office. If it wasn't for Nancy Reagan, we wouldn't have had any president at all. His one foreign policy victory, if you can call it that, was getting Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall. Beyond that, his illegal actions while in office ranked up there with Nixon and Watergate. He knew he was breaking the law but did it anyway. He was everybody's friend, as well as everybody's fool.

Perhaps I'm being too rough. If you're looking for the good things Reagan did, you have to look domestically. You can't overlook that he signed the amnesty program for immigrants, building a pathway to citizenship for 3 million undocumented workers. Today, that would get him kicked out of his own party. He also raised taxes 11 times. That would get his GOP Conservative membership card cut up in no time. So who really are these GOP stalwarts talking about when they invoke the name of Reagan? Though they won't admit it, a moderate Democrat today.

So bye-bye Gipper. If the GOP wants any chance at the White House they need to consider this:

Among the book's 10 rules or "winning plays": "Stop Giving a S--t About Obama's Birthplace," "Hug the Gays (No, Really)" and "Kill Immigration Reform, Kill the GOP."

You know, for a Republican, this O'Connell guy has his sh** together.

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