Peggy Cooper Cafritz, grande dame of the Washington arts and education scene, dies at 70

Adam Bernstein, The Washington Post Published 9:23 am, Sunday, February 18, 2018 Photo: Photo For The Washington Post By April Greer Image 1of/1 CaptionClose Image 1 of 1 Peggy Cooper Cafritz at her home, in Washington, D.C.'s Dupont Circle neighborhood, in 2015. Peggy Cooper Cafritz at her home, in Washington, D.C.'s Dupont Circle neighborhood, in 2015. Photo: Photo For The Washington Post By April Greer Peggy Cooper Cafritz, grande dame of the Washington arts and education scene, dies at 70 1 / 1 Back to Gallery WASHINGTON - Peggy Cooper Cafritz, a doyenne of Washington, D.C., arts and education, who tried to mend many of the city's social and racial wounds, created one of the nation's leading arts-intensive high schools, and capped her civic involvement with a divisive six-year tenure as D.C. school board president, died Feb. 18 at a hospital in Washington. She was 70. The cause was complications from pneumonia, said her son Zach Cafritz. She had severe health problems in recent years, including back surgeries and a gallbladder operation that left her in a coma for more than a week. Cooper Cafritz came from a prosperous black business family in Mobile, Alabama, but the family's standing in the community did not insulate them from bitter indignities of the Jim Crow South. Galvanized by the burgeoning civil rights movement, Cooper Cafritz arrived in Washington in 1964 to attend George Washington University, where she was determined to end the vestiges of racial segregation on campus. By her senior year, she had organized a black student union and helped force many fraternities and sororities to adopt race-blind charters. She also co-created a pilot workshop in creative arts in summer 1968 that she fostered into the Duke Ellington School of the Arts. Recommended Video: Now Playing: Continue Reading

In Italy, Facebook will have fact checkers ‘hunting’ for fake news for the first time

Anna Momigliano, The Washington Post Published 3:26 am, Friday, February 2, 2018 Photo: Bloomberg Photo By David Paul Morris. Image 1of/1 CaptionClose Image 1 of 1 A pedestrian takes a picture of a Facebook sign outside the company's headquarters in Menlo Park, California, on Jan. 30, 2017. A pedestrian takes a picture of a Facebook sign outside the company's headquarters in Menlo Park, California, on Jan. 30, 2017. Photo: Bloomberg Photo By David Paul Morris. In Italy, Facebook will have fact checkers 'hunting' for fake news for the first time 1 / 1 Back to Gallery MILAN - When Facebook announced its plans last week to have users rate the trustworthiness of news sources, it didn't go over particularly well. Many people criticized the social network for taking too little responsibility, demanding that it do more to combat misinformation than outsource the question to the public. But in Italy, as parliamentary elections approach, it seems the company is listening. Facebook has tasked a team of independent fact checkers in Italy to hunt down and debunk fake news on the social network ahead of the March 4 vote. The fact-checking program, which will launch the week of Feb. 5 and run at least until the end of 2018, is the fifth anti-hoax experiment Facebook has launched in various countries over the past few years. But this is the first time that professional fact-checkers will have a "proactive role" in finding hoaxes circulating on the site, according to Laura Bononcini, Facebook Italy's head of public policy. Facebook began experimenting with anti-hoax tools right after the 2016 U.S. elections, when the social network came under fire for spreading misinformation that, according to critics, might have influenced the presidential election. An analysis by BuzzFeed shortly after the election said Continue Reading

The Washington Post Is Sort Of Confused By Breitbart’s Roy Moore Crusade

As more members of Congress call on Roy Moore to bow out of the Alabama Senate race following allegations that he dated teenagers while in his thirties, including an allegation that he initiated sexual activity with a 14-year-old girl, the Republican candidate has had at least one consistent media defender throughout the scandal: Breitbart News.Breitbart, a relentless backer of Moore’s campaign, has focused its energy in recent days on casting the Washington Post, which broke the Moore story, as embarking on a politically motivated battle against the candidate. That media strategy is familiar terrain for readers of Breitbart, which revels in taking on the Republican establishment and the mainstream media.But inside the Post’s newsroom, sources say, the right-wing site’s war has been met largely with bemusement — and that the paper is not interested in any sort of pissing match as the Moore story continues to snowball, and Moore continues to deny the allegations.“If Breitbart were gaining traction, that would be one thing,” said one Post source. “Then maybe someone would be plussed. But I think everyone is nonplussed by this whole thing.”News outlets’ public relations departments don’t typically shy away from a fight — even if that means sniping at a competitor or critic off the record. But a Washington Post spokesperson declined to comment to BuzzFeed News for this story. A spokesperson for Breitbart did not return a request for comment.The battle, as it were, began last week when Breitbart preempted the Post’s scoop about Moore by running a story beforehand that appeared to be based on the Moore campaign leaking the newspaper’s detailed request for comment.As Axios reported, Breitbart dispatched two of its reporters to Alabama with the goal of discrediting the Post. In recent days, Breitbart posted a story claiming to contradict the Post’s reporting, when it ended up confirming some Continue Reading

Fantasy Baseball: An inside look at the Washington Nationals

A tradition since 2010, RotoExperts At the Park is now available to you on Over the past seven seasons, my exclusive interviews with Major League Baseball players and coaches, designed to bring you key Fantasy Baseball insights, have only been available on radio. Now, in an effort for a wider audience to enjoy my Q and As with your most important Fantasy players, you’ll be able to find the clips right here, as well as On Demand via iTunes, Google Play, Audioboom and other sources. When you come here for the audio, I will add in some key extra Fantasy insights. In this edition, we cover the Washington Nationals. Nationals bench coach on the evolving closer situation and more Chris Speier covers a variety of topics here with me, and it's always intersting to get the insights of coaches, as they often tend to be straightforward and break down specific parts of the game in detailed fashion. Speier's comments on Bryce Harper simply indicate that the 2015 MVP is healthy again, and his Fantasy owners should remain highly confident in him after a first month that looked a lot like the version of two seasons ago. Most importantly, he outlines the Nationals closer situation, which should start to come into sharper focus when Koda Glover is expected to return from the DL this weekend. Speier admits it's an open audition right now, even though Blake Treinen has been moved out of the mix. Shawn Kelley has allowed home runs in each of his past two appearances, and Glover earned back to back saves in two of his final three outings before he hit the DL. There's more analysis on that to come here from a Nationals insider, but I am confident it's just a matter of time before Glover is the definite closer in this situation. We also touched briefly on Joe Ross, but he was not able to sustain his success of his first start and has found himself back in the minor leagues. The Washington Post has cited the unreliability of his changeup and mechanical issues Continue Reading

Special Forces soldier who was denied Medal of Honor by the Army speaks out for the first time about controversy

A Green Beret officer, who heroically fought off suicide bombing Taliban fighters during a 2013 combat in Afghanistan, has spoken out for the first time since the Army rejected his commander's nomination that he receive a Medal of Honor. Staff Sgt. Earl D. Plumlee, received a Silver Star instead, an honor that is two levels lower than the esteemed Medal of Honor — a decision that sparked controversy and an investigation into the Army leaders who dismissed the recommendation. “I kind of have a lot of trust in the system, but if somebody says it’s broken maybe it is,” Plumlee told the Washington Post for the first time since receiving the demoted award. Plumlee’s elite Special Forces unit became the target of a chaotic Taliban ambush on Aug. 28, 2013, after an insurgent detonated a 400-pound car bomb at their Forward Operating Base Ghazni. What ensued was an armed confrontation that ended in the death of one American soldier, Staff. Sgt. Michael Ollis. According to Plumlee's commanders, he acted heroically and risked his life by aggressively engaging with the insurgents and facilitating the safe evacuation of other soldiers. "Despite suffering shrapnel wounds from enemy suicide vests, Staff Sgt. Plumlee continuously exposed himself to enemy fire, rendered aid to wounded comrades and effectively stopped the enemy assault, saving many lives," according to the citation Plumlee was awarded in May, Military Times reported. Just after the initial detonation, Plumlee rushed to the site of the explosion to fend off as many 10 armed Taliban attackers who stormed the base, some of whom had grenade launchers and detonated suicide vests that sent their body parts and shrapnel flying. “There was another tremendous explosion that knocked both of us back into a wall, and I got hit in the chest right across the buttstock with about three-quarters of a human arm,” Plumlee told the Washington Continue Reading

Superbug bacteria resistant to antibiotic of last resort detected in the U.S. for the first time

The country’s first case of bacteria resistant to a drug of last resort “shows the end of the road isn’t very far away for antibiotics,” public health officials warned Thursday. A superbug strain of E. coli showed up in the urine sample of a 49-year-old Pennsylvania woman who went to a clinic ailing from the symptoms of a urinary tract infection, according to a study published by a journal from the American Society for Microbiology. Researchers from the Department of Defense concluded that the discovery “heralds the emergence of truly pan-drug resistant bacteria” because colistin, an antibiotic relied upon by doctors to treat the deadliest bacteria, proved no match for the E. coli. Drug-resistant bacteria already infects at least 2 million Americans and kills 23,000 people in the U.S. each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Yet the study’s finding portends a future of even greater risks from the superbugs, CDC Director Tom Frieden told the Washington Post. “It basically shows us that the end of the road isn’t very far away for antibiotics — that we may be in a situation where we have patients in our intensive-care units, or patients getting urinary tract infections for which we do not have antibiotics,” Frieden said. "I’ve been there for TB patients. I’ve cared for patients for whom there are no drugs left. It is a feeling of such horror and helplessness,” he added. “This is not where we need to be.” Health officials have detected the superbug in a few people, animals, food and environmental samples on every continent, according to the study. Yet the discovery Thursday marked America’s first human case of colistin-resistant E. coli. CDC officials are working with state and local officials to find the source of the bacteria and screen other patients and people who may have Continue Reading

U.S. abortion rates stop declining for the first time since 1990; recession could be factor: report

The abortion rate in the U.S. stopped declining for the first time in almost 20 years, according to a new survey -- and experts think the recession may have played a role. There were 1.21 million abortions in 2008 -- a rate of 19.6 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44, according to the Guttmacher Institute, which surveys U.S. abortion providers. Both totals represented about a 1% bump from the previous survey in 2005, when there were 19.4 abortions per 1,000 and 1,206,200 total procedures. The increase was the first since 1990, when abortions in the U.S. peaked at 1.6 million, and the abortion rate was 27.4. Experts said a number of factors could have contributed to the stalled decline, including the absences of gains in contraceptive technology, the number of abortion providers remaining flat and the recession. With less money, experts said, some couples may have not been able to afford contraceptives, or some couples may have thought twice about the costs that come with raising a child, experts said. "One explanation is that women who were poor who found themselves with an unintended pregnancy in the middle of a recession who in other circumstances would have said, 'Okay, I'll go ahead and have a baby,' would just say, 'I just can't do this right now' and get an abortion," Rachel K. Jones, a senior research associate at the Guttmacher Institute, told The Washington Post. Michael New, a political science professor at the University of Alabama, told The Associated Press that the report shows a common trend of abortion numbers going down when the economy is good and going up when the economy is bad. "If the economy does better, you'll see numbers trending down again," he said. The report also found that more women were turning away from surgical abortion in favor of medication. In about 17% of cases in 2008, women used medication to end their pregnancies. Officials at the Guttmacher Institute, which supports abortion rights but is considered Continue Reading

Why shouldn’t we waterboard Abdulmutallab? The ticking time bomb scenario is here

Picture this hypothetical situation: A member of Al Qaeda boards a transatlantic flight bearing 269 passengers and crew headed for a major American city - let's just say Detroit - with powdered explosives stitched into his undergarments. As the plane makes its final descent, the terrorist (at this point in our narrative, that's what he is, both legally and morally), fails to detonate his illegal carry-on baggage, but he does draw attention to himself by setting his crotch on fire. Thanks to the heroic actions of some passengers, the man is subdued and, when the plane lands, taken into custody by the FBI. There, he readily admits to his membership in the League of Extraordinarily Evil Men and taunts his captors with the news that, while he might have failed in murdering some 300 civilians, more such attacks are on the way. Told, however, that he has the right to remain silent and is under no compunction to divulge any information that might incriminate him in a court of law, this wanna-be mass murder quickly secures the services of a top-notch lawyer from a white shoe firm and, under the advice of his attorney, clams up. This scenario, of course, is far from hypothetical, the stuff of college philosophy classrooms and speculative magazine articles. It is, rather, a fairly accurate description of the events that have transpired since last week, when the Nigerian-born Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was subdued in his attempt to bring down a Delta flight headed for the Motor City. While the Al Qaeda-linked 23-year-old gave his interrogators a grim preview of what may soon come from the hive of Islamist terrorism that is the state of Yemen, he has, according to federal officials who spoke with the Washington Post, "restricted his cooperation since securing a defense attorney." We are thus presented with a version of the proverbial "ticking time bomb" scenario. Sure, the threat may not be as immediate as those regularly defused by Jack Bauer on "24." The impending Continue Reading

Gov’t bill would make Internet more accessible for disabled via real-time texting, closed captioning

This month, as Congress returns from break, health care reform is not the only imperative issue on their plate. A new bill will aim to make content on the Internet more friendly to those with disabilities. The "21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2009" (H.R. 3101) plans to modernize disability standards by making such accessibility features as closed captioning, video description and real-time texting a standard for Internet technologies. The bill was introduced by Mass. Rep. Ed Markey on June 26, with support from the Coalition of Organizations for Accessible Technology (COAT), an alliance whose primary goal is to ensure that people with disabilities are not left behind as technology moves further into the digital age.  “When we first sat down a couple years ago we realized that the communication act that the FCC regulates and administers was not keeping up with all the changes going on in communications, particular with everything starting to move through the internet,” said Jenifer Simpson, Senior Director of Government Affairs at the American Association of People with Disabilities, a founding member of COAT. Currently, some Web sites that let you watch television or movies over the Internet - such as Netflix or iTunes - do not offer closed captioning, or offer very little captioning. By law they are not required to, because closed captioning standards enforced by the FCC do not extend to content broadcasted over the Internet. “In many cases the movies or television they are showing and distributing had captioning in it initially. Once it goes up on the Internet that caption disappeared,” said Simpson.       The new bill would make closed captioning mandatory for large Internet television and movie distributors, excluding user-based sites such as YouTube. The bill would also lift an outdated standard enforcing closed captioning only on TV sets of 13 inches or Continue Reading

Timeline: The many times George Papadopoulos tried to connect the Trump campaign with Russia

After newly unsealed court filings revealed George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russians, President Trump quickly downplayed his relationship to his campaign's foreign policy adviser. "Few people knew the young, low level volunteer named George, who has already proven to be a liar," he tweeted Tuesday. But the records show Papadopoulos was actually in frequent touch with senior campaign officials about his efforts to connect Trump's team with the Russian government. Papadopoulos was also offered damaging information on opponent Democrat Hillary Clinton from people he believed were connected to the Kremlin, according to the documents.The charges against Papadopoulos, who has since become a "proactive cooperator" with federal authorities, are one of Robert Mueller's first prosecutions in his wide-ranging federal investigation into Russia's interference in the presidential election. A federal jury also indicted former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort and his associate Rick Gates on charges that they secretly worked on behalf of pro-Russian factions in Ukraine, then laundered millions of dollars in profits through foreign bank accounts.  More: Denying Russia collusion, Trump calls campaign aide George Papadopoulos a 'liar' and 'low level volunteer' More: Ex-Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos pleads guilty to lying to FBI about Russian contacts More: Mueller's bombshell: Special counsel charges Manafort, Gates and reveals aide's Russia contacts The court documents refer to certain people involved in the discussions using pseudonyms including "Professor," "Campaign Supervisor," "Russian MFA Connection," and "Female Russian National."We reviewed the "Statement of the Offense" and an FBI agent's affidavit that were unsealed Monday for new details about communications involving Trump's campaign and Russia. Here's a Continue Reading