How street demonstrators scored a victory against Poland’s government

Protesters shout slogans during a protest on Sunday in front of the presidential palace in Warsaw.

Janek Skarzynski, AFP/Getty ImagesProtesters shout slogans during a protest on Sunday in front of the presidential palace in Warsaw.

If an illiberal government — democratically elected, but determined to change the rules — tries to do something unconstitutional, what can the public do? What can the political opposition do? This is a dilemma we now know from several countries — Russia, Venezuela, Turkey, Hungary, Poland, and possibly soon Greece. The prospects are pretty gloomy, as I’ve argued before, for those who want to stay within the bounds of the law.

One partial answer is peaceful street demonstrations, though that is a frustrating path. Most people don’t have time to stand in a crowd every day or every evening; the chants and speeches can be repetitive; and, more to the point, the government has no obligation to listen. The effort can seem pointless, and it often is — unless it can move the hearts and minds of the leaders of the ruling party. In Poland, over the past week, that’s exactly what just happened.

To briefly recap a complicated story: Poland’s nationalist government had already chalked up a series of constitutional violations and undemocratic decisions, including the politicization of public media, the army, the prosecutor’s office, the civil service and the constitutional tribunal. A few days ago, it passed three laws that would have allowed the current government to dissolve the Supreme Court, fire several dozen judges and replace them with those it preferred.

Mass demonstrations all over the country followed, every night for the past week, in all of the major cities and many small ones, too. Tens of thousands — probably hundreds of thousands — of people sang Pink Floyd, the national anthem and anti-communist protest songs from the 1980s. They stood in front of courthouses with candles. They chanted “Here is Poland,” …read more

Source:: The Denver Post

Former Dallas Cowboys WR Michael Irvin won’t be charged with sexual assault

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Former Dallas Cowboys star Michael Irvin will not be charged with sexual assault after Florida prosecutors said Monday that hotel video and other evidence aren’t sufficient to prove his accuser’s allegations.

Broward County Assistant State Attorney Christine Adler wrote in a report that without additional corroboration of the accuser’s account, prosecutors “would not be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a sexual battery occurred.”

A 27-year-old woman accused Irvin of drugging and sexually assaulting her at the W Hotel in Fort Lauderdale in March. The 51-year-old Irvin, who lives in Texas, denied the allegations. Irvin, who settled a sexual assault lawsuit in 2011, is scheduled to have a Monday afternoon press conference. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2007 and has worked as an analyst on the NFL Network.

According to Adler’s report, the accuser told investigators she had known Irvin for about seven years but they had a platonic relationship. The woman, whose name has been redacted, said she had texted the former University of Miami wide receiver a few weeks before their encounter and he told her he would be in Fort Lauderdale soon and would call her.

She said that on the day of their encounter, they agreed to meet at a bar at about 10:30 p.m., where she had two glasses of wine with Irvin, his friend who owned the bar and a friend of hers. She said about 2 a.m. the foursome went to another bar, where she had two more glasses of wine. She said that she, Irvin and his friend went back to Irvin’s hotel room. Irvin’s friend left shortly after.

She said she felt sick and thinks someone drugged her drink. She said she fell asleep on the room’s couch and woke up to Irvin on top of …read more

Source:: The Denver Post

Frontier Airlines fined $400,000 for bumping passengers, not helping people with disabilities

Denver-based Frontier Airlines was fined $400,000 by the U.S. Department of Transportation for violating procedures for bumping passengers from oversold flights, and for failing to properly assist disabled passengers.

American and Delta Airlines also were fined, according to a DOT release on Friday, but Frontier was fined the most .

Frontier didn’t seek volunteers when bumping passengers on oversold flights before involuntarily removing passengers, the release said. Bumped passengers also didn’t receive written notices of their rights, and they weren’t compensated in a timely manner, both against DOT regulations.

Frontier, which announced a 21-city expansion from Denver International Airport last week , also failed to provide adequate assistance to disabled passengers. According to the report, Frontier didn’t provide passengers who have disabilities with prompt and adequate assistance getting on and off planes, or help them inside the terminal. The airline also didn’t respond appropriately to complaints by people with disabilities.

The airline will update its procedures, Frontier said in a statement.

“Frontier remains committed to complying with DOT rules and regulations,” the statement says. “During this investigation, Frontier reviewed outdated procedures that were not effective; these have since been updated. In addition, Frontier has taken steps including, introducing a new reporting system, to ensure compliance with the DOT regulations.”

American and Delta Airlines faced $250,000 and $200,000 fines, respectively . While the Department fined American for untimely refunds, it fined Delta for inaccurate baggage reports.

…read more

Source:: The Denver Post