Monday, December 23, 2013

Southwest Airlines is so much less than what it promised

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Southwest Airlines is so much less than what it promised
By Ray Hanania

Flying on an airplane used to be fun. But these days, it’s changed. And it’s not just because of Sept. 11. It has more to do with greed.

Southwest Airlines is a good example. Cited 10 times by Fortune Magazine for its financial management, it knows little about how to treat customers.

Southwest Airlines began in Texas in 1967 as Air Southwest and changed its name in 1971. It has always portrayed itself as the “little guy” in the airline business, promising the highest service and the lowest cost.

Like all of the airlines, Southwest Airlines saves money by nickel and diming its passengers, offering the lowest fares by treating passengers like cows. But Southwest Airlines has taken it all one step further.

They don’t assign seats when you buy your ticket. That’s too civilized for cows. Instead, you line up based on whether you pay them extra money. Some people might call that bribing the company to give you a better place in line.

You get seats in one of two ways. You are assigned a “boarding position” when you register for your flight online at least 24 hours before your flight.

Or, you can pay the airline $15 per passenger to have them assign you a “boarding position” 36 hours before the flight in boarding positions 1 through 60.

But 40 minutes before the flight, Southwest Airline sells the first spots in line to passengers who are willing to pay $40 more.

Worse, is that no one really checks to see if people are being honest. The boarding steward doesn’t care. He just checks you in. So many people simple get in the line even ahead of their real assigned number.

You can see how all that ala carte spending starts to add up.

It’s uncivilized, which is what Southwest Airlines should use in its motto. “We’re the uncivilized airline, but we’re rich” rather than their worthless motto which now laughingly proclaims, “Doing the Right Thing.”

What does that mean anyway? The “right thing” for who? Not the passengers.

When you pay $15 to “early register” for the flight, don’t you think that means getting a seat assigned. No. It means getting in a pecking order on where you stand in line trying to get a seat.

The steward jokingly urges passengers to pay the extra $40 per person “to sit with your significant other,” meaning the chances of a family sitting together are probably only 30 percent. Those are bad odds.

The uncivilized way they assign seats is only the beginning. The seats themselves are the most cramped of any airline. In fact, when you get into your seat, somewhere at the back of the plane after paying a fortune, the fold-out tray opens and touches your stomach. It has a sliding feature, but it has no room to slide on normal people.

They are constantly also trying to “balance” their airline wait, asking passengers to take a later flight for a flight coupon. That tells me they constantly overbook.

Maybe they should call Southwest Airlines “Sardine Airlines.” At least you will know what you are paying for.

I liked the old days when airlines treated people with respect. You got what you paid for. Now, they want to take your money and give you what they want.

There was a time when people meant something. These days, we’re just Sherpas for someone else’s profits.

(Ray Hanania is an award winning columnist. Reach him at Or follow him on Twitter @RayHanania.)

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Memory of Palestinian villages destroyed by Israel should be revived

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Memory of Palestinian villages destroyed by Israel should be revived

Saudi Gazette Sunday, December 22, 2013
English: Deir Yassin. Attacked by Irgun 9th Ap...
English: Deir Yassin. Attacked by Irgun 9th April 1948. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
On May 27, 1942, a Nazi leader's car was attacked by the resistance. Within a month, the Nazis had tracked the attackers to a Czech village called Lidice and had expelled or massacred most of its residents, men, women and children. Today, Lidice is remembered every June in ceremonies and memorials in several cities around the world.
That made me wonder about the more than 400 villages that were destroyed by Israel in 1948 in its effort to purge non-Jews from the territories it had captured. What has been done to memorialize them or to remember their destruction?
In 1978 during the dawn of the computer era, I began writing a computer software program called “Baladi: The Palestine Database” which sought to compile facts about Palestine’s history that the owner of the software could expand. I released it publicly in 1985.
It actually consisted of several databases including one that listed chronologically by year, month and day events in Palestine’s history; a travel feature that allowed you to walk 15 of the most scenic routes of pre-Nakba Palestine, and several others that included maps and more. The databases were expandable and information could be inputed by the user.
One of the databases in Baladi was a listing of every Palestinian city, town and village that existed, including the complete list of those Israel had destroyed during its creation in 1947 and 1948. What I learned was that many of the largest Palestinian cities and towns had been attacked by Israel long before the so-called “Arab invasion” that followed Israel’s formal declaration of statehood on May 14, 1948 – giving the lie to the Israeli assertion that the Arabs started the war when they invaded in 1948.
No, the Israelis started the war in 1946, using terrorism, hostage taking, suicide bombings and the murder of civilians, such as the massacre of Deir Yassin. Many of those villages and cities that were attacked and destroyed were located in the area of the UN Partition Plan that had been designated to be a part of the “Arab state.” I continue to update the database online at
But as I read about the efforts to commemorate Lidice, I wondered about the more than 400 Lidice’s that were destroyed by Israel and what efforts were being made to memorialize them. What was being done to remember them?
There are several campaigns to commemorate the vicious massacre by ultra-terrorists Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir, two of Israel’s prime ministers, of the Palestinian village of Deir Yassin, an attack that sparked the refugee flight.
And what about memorializing the cities, towns and villages that have survived Israel’s vicious oppression over the years? What are we doing to support them?
One of the problems of the Palestinian challenge has been the slow process of documenting our history. There are many websites that promote anger and hate against Israel, and certainly Israel, as a government and military deserves much criticism. In fact, charges should be brought against Israel in the International Criminal Court for its violence and terrorism.
But the story of Palestine is a story of beauty. It is a story of people and families and achievements. We should be documenting our history in more detail, not just as statistics but as a people. Who are some of the people who were murdered by the terrorist Haganah and Irgun organizations?
We should have their pictures and biographies available so that years from now, others will know what Israel did to a people who lived in a country called Palestine.
One of my friends, activist and businessman Sam Bahour who now lives in Palestine, is helping a project called the Theatrical Museum of Palestinian Oral History. It sounds like a great project, but of course, every project needs funds.
And for some reason, we Arabs have a problem with funding. We can get some funding, but not enough. Funding is always a problem. The Arab world is one of the wealthiest regions in the world. Arabs are among the wealthiest in the world. A recent study noted that the Middle East has 157 billionaires, or 40 percent of the world’s billionaires. That’s compared to the 28 percent who live in Europe, 22 percent who live in North America (the United States mainly) and 18 percent who live in Asia.
Yet, Israel’s distorted message that twists history, denies Palestinian rights and demonizes Arabs has far more financial support. Pro-Israeli groups spend far more on public relations and press releases, on the underwriting of movies and television shows, and even on the ownership and advertising support of newspapers and mainstream news media.
They have their own museums to commemorate the Holocaust and Jewish history, and so much more. Yet, when it comes to Arab history and especially Palestinian history, there is so little. And what little exists does so on meager budgets.
In a world where perception is reality, what you do has an impact on how people view your causes. If they see that you yell and scream a lot but rarely invest your own money in something, maybe that something isn’t worth their support either.
Could our failure as Arabs to put our money where our mouths and emotions are be a part of the reason why the public so easily brushes aside our rights and claims to justice, and instead embraces the hateful anti-Arab images promoted by Israel and other groups with political agendas?
If our own people can’t step up to the plate to invest in the history of our Arab culture, or of Palestine, then what kind of history do we really have?
– Ray Hanania is an award winning columnist. He can be reached at or follow him on Twitter @RayHanania
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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Chronology of controversy and lies against ADC

Chronology of controversy and lies against ADC

The extremist critics of ADC use the Big Lie to pressure moderates and good people out of leadership in the American Arab community. The controversy at ADC is a reflection of this continued strategy by the fanatics.

Here is a chronology of the attacks and vicious lies, and the sequence of events, to help you understand the real motives in the assault against ADC.

ADC Chronology of Controversy


ADC Founded


Rashida Tlaib says she was sexually harassed by Imad Hamad, but says nothing to anyone until 15 years later.


Sexual harassment complaints were filed by eight women against Imad Hamad. ADC conducts an internal investigation. Imad Hamad was required to take a sexual harassment course.


Jan. 10 
Rana Abbas, who was deputy director under Imad Hamad, leaves ADC Michigan after joining it in 2000, later claiming she was one of the women sexually harassed by Hamad in 2007.


June 1
Chicago ADC Board member Ray Hanania is nominated by the Chicago ADC Chapter to serve as the official representative on the ADC National Board.

June 4-6
ADC National Convention

June 5
Two extremists confront Ray Hanania at the ADC asking if his wife is really Jewish and threatening to protest his appointment to the national board because of his opinion that the Palestinian Right of Return should be compromised as a par of a final peace with Israel.

June 23
Will Youmans, Ikhras and KabobFest call for Hanania’s resignation. Hanania alleges the fanatics oppose his moderation and support of peace with Israel.


May 5
Critics accuse ADC National of seeking to censor Malek Jandali and prevent him from performing a song he wrote in 2011 “Watani Ana” that some considered critical of the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad

June 1
Ray Hanania nominates Warren David, the longtime publisher of "Arab Detroit," as National ADC Board Chairman

June 9-12
ADC National Convention

June 9
ADC issues statement to clarify Jandali controversy. Read statement.

June 10
Ray Hanania declines reappointment to the ADC Board, citing the costs of travel to and from Washington DC, and the manner in which the board makes decisions.

June 10
The Arab American Institute and Jim Zogby issue a statement denouncing ADC for allegedly censoring Jandali “The silencing of Mr. Jandali has unfairly harmed and cast a pall on the hard work done by ADC's staff to make this convention a success. It also hurts ADC’s members who look to this organization for leadership as the country’s largest Arab American civil rights organization.” Read AAI attack on ADC.

June 11
Trying to stem the public criticism, ADC plays a recording of Malek Jandali’s song at the convention. Jandali filed a copyright violation lawsuit claiming the song was played without his permission.

June 27
Extremist activists Hoda Mitwally and Yaman Salahi publish a vicious attack in Aljazeera English libeling ADC, Safa Rifka and Ray Hanania, and complaining of Hanania’s criticism “against Palestinian solidarity activists.” Read their attack column.

July 1
Warren David is officially named National President of ADC. His salary is reportedly over $100,000. His appointment was approved by the board in June.


April 12
ADC issues apology to Malek Jandali for playing his song without his permission and reportedly pays Jandali’s legal bills.

June 21-24
ADC National Convention


May 31
Rashida Tlaib, based in Greater Detroit, sends letter to ADC’s National President, Warren David, claiming she and other women were sexually harassed by Imad Hamad -- she in 1997 and the others in 2007 demanding that action be taken. The delay in making the claims leads many to believe the attacks against Hamad are driven by politics. Click to read letter.

Oct. 3
ADC publishes a press releases claiming they investigated and responded to the sexual harassment charges. Read release.

Oct. 18
ADC Communications Director Raed Jarrar is fired by ADC. Read Alarabiya Story.

Oct. 21
Several Female staff members of ADC's national office go on strike in protest of what they believe is the failure of ADC to act on the sexual harassment charges and in response to Jarrar's dismissal.

Oct. 23
The Female staff members quit ADC.

Oct. 29
Will Youmans, Warren David’s nephew, and Khaled A. Beydoun, publish a vicious attack against ADC and Safa Rifka in alJazeera. (Youmans is the nephew of David’s wife Amal.) Read the column.

Nov. 17
Extremist activists at George Washington University protest at an ADC hosted Women’s Initiative Concert at Lisner Auditorium that featured the 2013 Arab Idol winners, denouncing ADC.

Nov. 22
Imad Hamad resigns from ADC. Read Detroit Free Press article.

Nov. 23
Fatina Abdrabboh, 32, a Dearborn attorney is named as Hamad’s successor.

Nov. 25
ADC president Warren David is fired by ADC National Board Chairma Safa Rifka. ADC spokesman says David failed to represent the official policies of ADC.

Dec. 4
ADC National names attorney Samer Khalaf as Warren David’s successor.

Dec. 9
The Arab Daily News reports that Safa Rifka will be the keynote speaker at ADC Michigan’s annual fundraiser to be held Dec. 13, angering anti-ADC activists. Anti-ADC activists announce they will protest at the banquet.

Dec. 10
ADC Michigan announces it is canceling its annual Fundraiser set for Dec. 13 in Dearborn. Read article in Detroit Free Press.

TBC ...

Sunday, December 01, 2013

2nd Annual Images and Perceptions Diversity Conference: “Empowering Our Nation by Engaging Communities”

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2nd Annual Images and Perceptions Diversity Conference
Empowering Our Nation by Engaging Communities”

In Collaboration with the Arab American, African American, Hispanic American, and Asian American Communities

Keegan Michael Key, star of Comedy Central's "Key and Peele" will headline the signature 2nd Annual Images and Perceptions Diversity Conference, Empowering our Nation by Engaging Communities, to be held on Friday, December 6, 2013, at The Carlisle, 435 E. Butterfield Rd, Lombard, IL 60148 from 8:30am to 4:00pm. 

This unique conference explores the culture, diversity, and contributions of the Arab American, African American, Hispanic American, and Asian American communities as it examines the images portrayed in media, film, and television, and their implications in education, government, and corporate America.

In Partnership with the Governor's Office of the State of Illinois, the Mayor's Office of the City of Chicago, City Colleges of Chicago, University of Chicago, LaSed, NAACP, SER and Ziyad Imports, the conference offers 6 Continuing Education Credits by the University of Chicago for Educators, Social Workers, Counselors, Therapists, and Clinical Psychologists. Sponsorship opportunities with information booths and special student and group discount rates are available. Registration includes breakfast, lunch, conference materials, and certificate of completion. 

Join the 2013 Conference Presenters: Keegan Michael Key, Chicago's Second City alum and star of Comedy Central's "Key and Peele"; film and television actor and activist Sayed Badreya, star of "Iron Man", "Mirage", "Three Stooges", "Don't Mess with the Zohan"; Professor John Woods, PhD, of the University of Chicago will share a unique and thought provoking presentation on the evolution of images in the media. Second City's Director of Diversity and Inclusion, Dionna Griffin-Irons will infuse improv with audience participation; Diversity and Motivational Speaker, Attorney Maaria Mozaffar, founder of The  Skinless Project has inspired women in leadership and management roles; Comedy genius and award winning journalist, Ray Hanania, will also perform. The conference has established a unique forum which provides effective and education tools as it creates bridges for constructive dialogue and networking while exploring the challenges and triumphs that ultimately bring us together as communities and impacts us all as Americans.

For more information, visit:  Media Contact:  Siham Awada Jaafar (313) 910-1955

NOTE CHANGE OF VENUE: Due to unforeseen circumstances with the Alhambra Palace Restaurant, we have been forced to change the venue for the Images and Perceptions Diversity Conference on December 6, 2013. The event will now be held at The Carlisle located at 435 E. Butterfield Rd, Lombard, IL 60148.