Thingish Things

The Best Sign of Life for Blackberry — the Device

Written By: William F. B. O'Reilly - Sep• 27•12

I admit it.  I gave up on Blackberry (RIM) some time ago. But how funny is this video just released by its new executive team. The REO Speedwagon parody urges Blackberry users to remain patient for the supposed company-saving Blackberry 10 software coming out in the first quarter of 2013. 

This video has been widely panned. I love it.  Any team of executives willing to take risks like this, may have what it takes to rebuild a company.


Why Mitt Romney Will Win

Written By: William F. B. O'Reilly - Sep• 26•12

I don’t know about you, but my head is spinning with all the theories out there about who will win this presidential election and why.

I’m as guilty of promulgating them as anyone. Ask any political consultant for a prediction on a race — on anything really — and we’ll take you on a trip around the world. We’re worse than the commentators before an NFL game:

“I’ll tell you, Steve, no lefthanded president who has lost the Methodist vote in Wisconsin has ever been re-elected in a year that ends with the number two…”

This is my firm and final theory then — it is also my first incidentally — on why I think Mitt Romney will be the next president of the United States:

Romney will win because Barack Obama has not done a good enough job.

That’s it.

Call it the Obama-Occam’s Razor Theory if you want to dress it up — the simplest explanation is usually the right one — or the Homer Simpson “D’oh!” Theory, which I much prefer. But either way, the result on Nov. 6 should be predictable. Most Americans think the country is in trouble and headed more deeply into it rather than out of it, so come Election Day they will replace the current White House occupant with the well-qualified challenger.

Clint Eastwood said this best at the Republican National Convention in Tampa (when he wasn’t talking to the chair):

“Politicians are employees of ours,” the “Unforgiven” actor and director said. “And when somebody does not do the job, we got to let ’em go.”

I was next to the convention stage with a colleague when Eastwood said that, and the simple truth of his words was palpable. “That’s the whole election,” I whispered to her beneath the roar of a partisan crowd.

And it is.

The rest of this column is available at Newsday and Newsday Westchester.  Thanks for reading!

How Bibi Can Get a Meeting with Barack

Written By: William F. B. O'Reilly - Sep• 23•12

Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu don’t like each other.

That much is clear.

But they’re really going to have to put aside personal grudges — and fast — because the world is getting scarier by the day.

Obama’s refusal to agree to a meeting with the Israeli prime minister when he is in the United States this month was a lousy idea. Americans aren’t the only ones who noticed it. Israel’s enemies surely did, too, just as they noted, I’m sure, that the president will be meeting with Egyptian president and former Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Morsi next week in New York.

Egypt is an ally — at least it was — and the president’s meeting with Morsi is important and appropriate. But not meeting with Netanyahu, with all that’s going on in the Middle East, is madness. Any perceived daylight between the United States and Israel is a dangerous thing for the Jewish State. The president’s refusal to meet is virtually a straight-arm to Israel on the world stage.

It doesn’t seem like the Obama administration is going to easily relent, so here are five practical ideas for getting a meeting with the U.S. president that Bibi might consider:

1. Dinner with Barack

By logging onto and clicking on “Dinner with Barack,” Netanyahu can enter his name to try to win “the following prize package: round-trip tickets for winner and a guest from within the fifty U.S. States, DC, or Puerto Rico to a destination to be determined by the Sponsor; hotel accommodations for winner and a guest; and dinner for winner and a guest with President Obamaon a date to be determined by the Sponsor (approximate retail value of all prizes $4,800). Odds of winning depend on number of entries received.”

The “Dinner with Barack” promotion is open only to U.S. citizens, but I’m sure they’d take theHarvard– and MIT-educated Netanyahu. But just in case, I entered, too, and I will gladly bring Netanyahu as my guest.

2. Open a Hot New Nightclub In New York

The president can’t seem to resist hot clubs and celebrities. He partied this week at Jay-Z andBeyonce‘s 40/40 club, where guests shelled out $40,000 to attend. Maybe jazz up the Israeli mission for a little shindig after the UN meetings. Invite Bar Refaeli. Definitely.

3. Tell him you’re bringing Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. In 2008 he said he would meet with him.

The rest of this column is available at Newsday and Newsday Westchester.  Thanks for reading. 

Obama’s Debt Whiff

Written By: William F. B. O'Reilly - Sep• 22•12

I hate when people say, ” Can you imagine if x had said that?! Huh…huh.  Can you imagine.”

But can you imagine if Mitt Romney had no idea of the size of the federal debt? 

Somehow, there wasn’t so much follow up to this one.


Open Season on Womney

Written By: William F. B. O'Reilly - Sep• 18•12

Get your bow; get your arrows: It’s open season on Mitt Romney.

Much of the news media isn’t even pretending anymore.

With 49 days to go before the election, we are witnessing an old-fashioned game of kill-the-carrier, with a football sewn into Romney’s jersey. The Republican candidate cannot come to his feet before being hit, again and again.

The narrative? “Watch rich-kid Mitt blow this thing.” Anything that feeds it is getting A1 treatment.

Even ostensible conservative columnist David Brooks is in on the act today. “Thurston Howell Romney,” his column headline reads, comparing the gigantically successful Republican businessman to the bumbling millionaire dilettante in the 1970s TV sitcom “Gilligan’s Island.”

Way to play against type, David.

Don’t get me wrong. Romney makes mistakes — some real doozies. And they deserve to be covered. But the attacks are beginning to feel like gratuitous blood sport.

Here is an actual headline from a New York Times story tweeted last week: “Mitt Romney Remains Vague on Details of Some Proposals.” I am not a regular Times basher, but c’mon. Has anyone asked the president for details on, say, his debt proposal?

The latest hit on Romney is over remarks he made at a private fundraiser months ago. The Republican presidential candidate was surreptitiously videotaped telling his audience that 47 percent of Americans — those dependent on government dollars — may be unreachable electorally.

That’s a conversation as old as America. “Anyone who robs Peter to pay Paul can always count on Paul’s support,” the well-worn adage goes.

But Romney’s remarks were shocking(!), and became irresistible to headline writers: “Romney trashes the 47 percent,” one wrote. “Romney: Obama voters ‘believe they are victims,'” read another.

The rest of this column is available at Newsday and Newsday Westchester.  Thanks for reading!

Frack the Middle East

Written By: William F. B. O'Reilly - Sep• 15•12

A liberal, the poet Robert Frost once said, is a man too broad-minded to take his own side in a quarrel.

That seems to be what Mitt Romney was going for this week when he criticized the Obama State Department for trying to placate protesters in Cairo.

Where it might have demanded from the wide side of a bullhorn, “Feet off U.S. embassy soil!,” our Egyptian embassy released a statement reading: “The Embassy of the United States in Cairocondemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims — as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions.”
I understand Romney’s sentiment, but then again, I’ve never been charged by a thousand or so angry Islamists.

Romney’s timing was lousy. We later learned that a well-armed crowd, in a separate incident, had attacked the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Libya, killing four Americans, including beloved U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens. Most Americans became aware of those murders and Romney’s quote at the same time. That unfairly made the former Massachusetts governor look petty at a somber moment, although, when it was later speculated that the attacks may have been a coordinated al-Qaida operation, Romney looked a bit better. Groveling doesn’t stop terrorist attacks; force does.
Those protests and attacks are now spreading.

“Santa Claus Conquers the Martians” (1964) is considered by many critics to be the worst movie ever made. But Santa was easily usurped by “Innocence of Muslims,” the film — if you can call it that — which ostensibly is sending much of the Muslim world into purple apoplexy.

It is impossible to describe how bad “Innocence of Muslims” is to those who have not seen it. I would suggest you see it yourself on YouTube to get a full sense of its awfulness, but I don’t want to be complicit in its spread. Suffice it to say that it was made by a bunch of bozos, and unquestionably anti-Muslim ones.

But if that’s all it takes to whip the Arab Street into a frenzy — that and the encouragement of radical Islamists — it’s going to be a very long century. I could design something on my home computer far more offensive than that video and post it on the Internet within 10 or 15 minutes. Anyone could.

Meanwhile, in my community and in communities all over New York, signs reading “Don’t Frack with Us, Cuomo!” abound, warning Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, in a tone Romney would approve of, not to allow horizontal hydrofracking in New York. The signs remind us again of Robert Frost‘s definitional skills.

The rest of this column is available at Newsday and Newsday Westchester.  Thanks for reading!

The College Bubble

Written By: William F. B. O'Reilly - Sep• 11•12

Terrific article on the college bubble in The Daily Beast, if you’re interested. 


What Will Generation Screwed Do?

Written By: William F. B. O'Reilly - Sep• 11•12

Four years ago I asked a 21-year-old colleague, a self- proclaimed apolitical, why she was so hellbent on voting forBarack Obama.

“You had Ronald Reagan,” she explained. “The first president I’ve really known is George W. Bush. My generation grew up being told that the U.S. is number one — that we are the best in the world — and now it feels like that’s slipping away. I think Obama can get us back there.”

I wonder what she is thinking today, with the nation $5 trillion deeper in debt, and with an 8.1 percent unemployment rate.

Kristin, my former colleague, was part of the much heralded youth vote in 2008. Her rationale for supporting Obama sounded almost exactly like the reason so many of my generation flocked to Reaganin 1980 and ’84. Reagan‘s and Obama’s political philosophies could not be more different, but their optimism was contagious to young minds and souls, mine included.

But the positive energy Obama exuded effortlessly in 2008 seems forced today, and more than a few people are curious to know how that will affect turnout among young voters. A 54 percent underemployment rate for recent college graduates isn’t engendering confidence in his leadership qualities among that demographic, either.

Obama for America, the president’s re-election team, is well aware of this dynamic, and it is working overtime to try to rekindle the excitement young voters felt for Obama in the heady days of 2008.

I cringed when I learned that Scarlett Johansson would be speaking at the Democratic National Convention toward that end. It didn’t bother me that she was being recruited to pump up the youth turnout. I was afraid I would have to add the starlet to my list of Hollywood celebrities who go out of their way to insult Republicans.

(How were the second two movies in Robert Ludlum‘s “Bourne” series?, you ask. I couldn’t tell you; I only saw the first. Matt Damon got added to the list for attacking John McCain in 2008.)

My fears over Johansson were for naught, it turns out. The über-lovely actress glowed with fairness in her remarks. She told young Americans that it is clear whom she supports for president — Barack Obama — but that it was up to each of them to decide for him- or herself whom to support. Be it for Romney-Ryan or Obama-Biden, for Pete’s sake get out and vote.

The rest of this column is available at Newsday.  Thanks for reading!

Send Nevin Yildirim to Albany

Written By: William F. B. O'Reilly - Sep• 08•12

Two striking stories of sexual abuse in the news:

One springs from Albany, N.Y. The other from 5,000 miles away, in Turkey’s remote Yalvac district.

Rural Yalvac covers 550 square miles with a population about the size of Levittown or White Plains. So what could have happened in a Yalvac, Turkey that would make international headlines?

A 26-year-old mother of two named Nevin Yildirim beheaded a man for allegedly raping and impregnating her. He threatened to kill the woman’s two children, according to news reports, if she told anyone about his repeated attacks.

In Turkey, being sexually assaulted causes a loss of honor — for the victim. So Yildirim decided to do what she thought would maintain hers. Here is an account of what occurred from the Huffington Post:

On Aug. 28, Yildirim claims, she spotted [35-year-old Nurettin] Gider (the accused) climbing up a wall behind her house and grabbed a rifle that was hanging on the wall.

“I knew he was going to rape me again,” Yildirim said at an Aug. 30 preliminary hearing.
Yildirim allegedly shot Gider twice. She claimed in court he was armed at the time.

“He fell on the ground. He started cussing,” she said. “I shot his sexual organ this time. He became quiet. I knew he was dead. I then cut his head off.”

Witnesses told police they saw Yildirim walk into the village square, carrying Gider’s bloody head by his hair.

“Don’t talk behind my back, don’t play with my honor,” Yildirim allegedly told witnesses in the square as she threw Gider’s head to the ground. “Here is the head of the man who played with my honor.”

Three quick thoughts: 1. I like Nevin Yildirim. 2. I vote for Linda Hamilton to play her in the TV movie. And 3. How very different is this from what happens in Albany?

The rest of this column is available at Newsday and Newsday Westchester.  Thanks for reading!

Video: Must Watch from Charlotte

Written By: William F. B. O'Reilly - Sep• 05•12