Berlusconi, Breasts and Obama: Cologne Carnival Floats Ready for Action

Every year, Carnival in Cologne and Dusseldorf is an orgy of political satire, as floats making fun of world leaders take to the streets. This year, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is a particularly easy target.

There are those who refuse to even consider going to Cologne for Carnival, that costumed orgy of excess which grips Germany's Rhineland every year. Too much drinking, they say. Too much childish overindulgence.

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Photo Gallery: Carnival Floats Ready for Action
On the eve of this year's festival, the killjoys have once again gone on the offensive. A court in Cologne, for example, recently ruled that employers are not required to give their workers the afternoon off to attend the festivities, even if that had been company policy in the past. Glass bottles have also been banned for safety reasons.

And the media expended much energy in an attempt to show how Carnival has suffered from the economic crisis. To no avail.

"I am sick and tired of these questions about the crisis and carnival," Peter Ruhr, spokesman for the party in Frankfurt, told the German news agency DPA. "People always go partying, particularly during crises."

In other words, when the proceedings get underway on Thursday, Germany will be ready. As are the floats for the Rose Monday parades. On Wednesday, many of the mobile models of political incorrectness -- which will take to the streets in a few days' time -- were unveiled. And it looks like Barack Obama could steal the show -- the US president is the centerpiece of a number of floats this year.

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