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National Govt & Politics
With my voice still gone, time for Jamie Dupree 2.0
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With my voice still gone, time for Jamie Dupree 2.0

With my voice still gone, time for Jamie Dupree 2.0
Photo Credit: Jamie Dupree

With my voice still gone, time for Jamie Dupree 2.0

As I sat in my doctor's office last Friday morning outside of the nation's capital, President Donald Trump was holding forth on the South Lawn of the White House. Russia should be back in the G-7. He might issue more pardons. He wasn't backing off on his fight over trade barriers. It was yet another time over the last two years that while the President was making major news, I was visiting yet another medical professional in the pursuit of answers - what happened to my voice, and will it ever come back?

The answer is - I don't know. And my many doctors don't know, either.

My voice is in there. From time to time, words fall out of my mouth that sound normal. But for the most part, I can't speak more than one or two words at a time before it goes haywire.

And that's a problem for someone who has been doing news on the radio since 1983.

The medical diagnosis is tongue protrusion dystonia - which basically means my tongue isn't working correctly, as it pops out of my mouth when I talk, causing problems for my speech.

I can talk a little with a pen in my mouth, getting out words and phrases that are more slurred than anything else.

And the thing that I struggle to explain to people is something more basic - this isn't just about being on the radio. I can't really have an extended conversation with my kids, my wife, my father, my sister, my friends and family. I can't say much to the guys I play golf with, my neighbors, or anyone.

"I heard you string together about four or five words," my wife told me after my youngest son's baseball game on Friday evening, as I've continued to coach his team, with help from other parents, even as my voice has all but disappeared over the last two years.

"You got a couple words out here and there," my father said last Thursday, after we had watched our Washington Capitals finally win the Stanley Cup.

What's it like? Just imagine going through the rest of your day without being able to say much more than 'yes' or 'no.'

No ordering food at the drive through. I can't call doctors to make an appointment. When I pick up something, I can't say my phone number or my name. At the local pizza place, I write my name down on a piece of paper when I come in for carry out. I do the same thing when picking up a prescription, or getting gas for the grill.

And when the phone rings, I usually don't answer it. Because I can't talk.

When I returned my team's baseball equipment bag last fall, I handed it over with my name written on a piece of paper, so it would be clear to all that it was mine.

The two women at the desk laughed at me.

"I guess he can't remember his name," one of them said, as they giggled.

But I haven't given up.

A plea for help

For months, some of my co-workers had been helping me search for a company that might have a software program which could take my years of audio archives, and build what would basically be a Jamie Dupree 'voice app,' which might allow me to get back on the air.

For months, I had been doing my own detective work on a computer generated voice solution - but we had all run into a brick wall. Major software companies in the U.S. didn't want to share what they had developed. Other companies around the world needed you to record hours of material in order for the program to work - but I could barely say my name.

By December of 2017, things were bleak on all fronts. There were no medical breakthroughs. My voice was still a mess. And there were questions about my job future.

Then, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) went to the floor of the House.

"Mr. Speaker, I would like to talk about Jamie Dupree," Ros-Lehtinen said, publicizing my voice troubles and the lack of answers.

She had no idea it was just a day after my birthday. She had no idea that she was delivering me a birthday present that I so badly needed. It got me attention, both inside and outside of my company.

That speech on the House floor spurred interest from other news organizations. Ben Strauss wrote an article in Politico which detailed my efforts to keep my job in radio - even without a voice.

A few days later, the Washington Post chipped in with their own version of the story.

Emails and social media messages poured in with all sorts of ideas on what was wrong, and where I should seek treatment.

Other news organizations asked questions as well, led by CNN's medical unit. Producer Sandee LaMotte - who listened to me on WSB in Atlanta - helped me find a neurological expert at the Emory University Brain Health Center who had actually treated similar cases.

Dr. Hyder Jinnah didn't promise miracles - and I didn't expect them.

"Based on what I know so far, you appear to have an uncommon subtype of a rare disorder," Dr. Jinnah told me when I went to visit him in March.

In other words, there was no magic wand.

In May, I went back to Emory for two shots of Botox to my tongue, with the hope that such a treatment would keep my tongue from popping out of my mouth, and allow me the chance to speak again.

Jamie Dupree
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Jamie Dupree

That first Botox treatment hasn't really worked. I will be going back to Emory in August for another pair of shots to my tongue, this time with a little more Botox.

The search for Jamie Dupree, Version 2.0

In the meantime, my plight had attracted the attention of people inside my company, Cox Media Group, and a new effort was underway at the Atlanta headquarters to see if we could find a high tech solution to get me back on the air.

What they found was a Scottish company named CereProc, which agreed to sift through years of my archived audio, and build a voice - which, when paired with a text-to-speech application - would sound like me, and hopefully get me back on the radio.

The big news today is that it looks like that is going to work, and allow me to "talk" on the radio again.

Here's the announcement from Scott Slade, who hosts the morning news on WSB AM/FM in Atlanta.

https://cmgwsbradiojamiedupree.files.wordpress.com/2018/06/scott-slade-jamie-dupree.mp3

Does the voice sound perfect? No. But it does sound like me.

When I type out some words - the text-to-speech program that I use spits them out in my new Jamie Dupree 2.0 voice.

And starting next week, the plan is for me to again feed stories to our Cox Media Group news-talk radio stations, and be back on the air in our hourly newscasts, reporting the news from Capitol Hill and Washington, D.C.

What does it sound like? Try this:

https://cmgwsbradiojamiedupree.files.wordpress.com/2018/06/jamie-dupree-6.mp3

Yes, it will probably sound robotic to some of my listeners; but for the first time in two years, I will be back on the radio.

Jamie Dupree 2.0 is here - and I couldn't be more excited about it!

Read More

News

  • The Georgia Tech community is mourning the loss of Brandon Adams, a football player who died on Saturday. >> Read more trending news  Adams, a senior defensive tackle and business administration major, died in Atlanta at the age of 21, according to the school. Memorial service information has not been released. Adams is survived by his mother, Lisa Greer, his stepfather, Reginald Woods, and his sister, Rian. Adams grew up in Brentwood, Tennessee and Georgia Tech recruited him from Brentwood Academy in 2016. The defensive tackle had a career year in 2018 for the Yellow Jackets, and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution named Adams a player to watch this spring.  Spring practice for Georgia Tech was set to begin Tuesday morning. Here are the statements from Georgia Tech officials, as well as tributes from coaches and teammates.  Todd Stansbury, Georgia Tech director of athletics: “On behalf of the entire Georgia Tech athletics family, I offer my deepest condolences to Brandon’s family and friends, including his past and present coaches, and his brothers in the Georgia Tech football family. As we mourn the loss of such an incredible young life, we are also here to support Brandon’s family and friends, his past and present coaches and his brothers within the Georgia Tech football family in any way that we can. Please join us in keeping Brandon and everyone who loved him in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.” Geoff Collins, Georgia Teach head coach: “Our entire Georgia Tech football family is heartbroken by the news of Brandon’s passing. In the short time that I have had the privilege and honor of knowing Brandon, I admired and respected him, first and foremost as a terrific human being, but also as an outstanding teammate and leader. Jennifer and I offer our thoughts, prayers and unconditional support to his parents, Lisa and Reginald, his sister, Rian, and all of his family and friends, especially his brothers in our football program.” Georgia Tech President G. P. “Bud” Peterson: “All of us here at Georgia Tech send our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Brandon Adams. We ask that you keep them in your thoughts and prayers.” Former Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson: Former Brentwood Academy teammate, Jaguars CB Jalen Ramsey: Georgia Tech offensive guard Michael Minihan
  • American Airlines announced Sunday it will cancel more flights that were scheduled on the carrier's fleet of Boeing 737 Max planes. This could go on for a month, as the planes remain grounded worldwide after two deadly crashes and concerns over safety features. >> Read more trending news  American Airlines said it is still waiting to hear back from regulating authorities like the Federal Aviation Administration, the Department of Transportation and the National Transportation Safety Board that would allow the 24 Boeing 737 Max aircraft in their fleet to resume flying. A spokesperson said the airline proactively decided to cancel 90 flights each day through April 24, which is an extension of the 85 flights that have been canceled every day since the aircraft was grounded. Initially, the cancellations were scheduled to last through March 28.  The advance cancellation is supposed to give customers better rebooking options.  American Airlines said it will be contacting customers affected directly by email or telephone but, not all flights previously scheduled on a Max will be canceled. Officials said they are working to substitute other aircrafts.  It is still important to note, if your flight was not scheduled to be on a Max, you still may be affected.  The airline said it will be using different aircrafts to cover Max routes. The goal, they said, is to impact the smallest number of people.  'Safety is the No. 1 thing. If I got bumped off my flight, even though I’m a paying passenger, oh, absolutely, it would be very, very frustrating. After finding out what you're telling me, I'm definitely going to make sure my flight is not canceled,' traveler Linda Wahe said.  'I mean, that's a big deal for travelers. You know, you put them in a bad spot if they need to get somewhere quick, but then again, safety. You want to make sure while you're in the air that safety is the main concern,' traveler Zachary James said. 'Just good for them to look out for them and protecting the consumer, that shows the passengers that safety is on their minds, so that's good for American Airlines to be doing that.'  American Airlines said if your flight was canceled and you do not want to rebook, you may request a full refund.
  • Special counsel Robert Mueller delivered the results of an investigation into possible collusion in the 2016 presidential election to Attorney General William Barr on Friday, ending a two-year saga that, at times, pitted the president against his own Justice Department.  >> Read more trending news  On Sunday, the Department of Justice delivered a summary to the House Judiciary Committee.  >> Barr: Mueller found no evidence of Trump-Russia conspiracy Update 7:45 p.m. EDT March 24: Senate Judiciary Committee ranking member Sen. Dianne Feinstein called Attorney General William Barr’s four-page summary on the Mueller report “inadequate.” Feinstein said in a statement Sunday that Barr’s summary “demonstrates why Congress needs to obtain the full report and underlying evidence.” She also said she’ll call on Barr to release the whole report and underlying material to Congress for proper Congressional oversight of the investigation. Feinstein said Barr was obviously biased in his summary of the report. “Mueller elected to describe the facts, leaving it to Attorney General Barr to decide whether the president committed a crime. However, months ahead of his nomination,  Barr wrote a 19-page memo concluding the president couldn’t commit obstruction, so it’s no surprise he reached the same conclusion now,” she said in the statement. Update 7:00 p.m. EDT March 24: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and New York Sen. Chuck Schumer issued a joint statement on Attorney General William Barr’s summary of special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s report. Pelosi and Schumer said Barr’s letter “raises as many questions as it answers.” The pair are calling for the Justice Department to release the full report. “The fact that Special Counsel Mueller’s report does not exonerate the president on a charge as serious as obstruction of justice demonstrates how urgent it is that the full report and underlying documentation be made public,” Schumer said on social media. The statement calls into question Barr’s ability to be objective about the Mueller report. “Given Mr. Barr’s public record of bias against the Special Counsel’s inquiry, he is not a neutral observer and is not in a position to make objective determinations about the report,” according to Pelosi and Schumer’s statement. “And most obviously, for the president to say he is completely exonerated directly contradicts the words of Mr. Mueller and is not to be taken with any degree of credibility,” the statement said. Update 6:00 p.m. EDT March 24: The Mueller report is divided into two parts, according to the summary Attorney General William Barr sent to Congress Sunday. The first part of the report describes the Mueller team’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and outlines Russia’s attempts to influence the election, including the crimes committed by people associated with the Russian government, Barr said. A primary focus for the Mueller team was whether any Americans, and specifically associates of President Donald Trump, worked with the Russians in interfering with the election, which would be a federal crime. “[T]he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities,” according to the Mueller report. >> Related: Mueller report: Trump claims 'Complete and Total’ exoneration The second part of the report, according to Barr’s summary, focuses on whether Trump obstructed justice.  The Mueller report leaves “unresolved whether the president’s actions and intent could be viewed as obstruction,” Barr said in his summary. “While the report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him” on obstruction allegations, Barr said. Mueller left a decision on obstruction of justice charges against Trump to the Justice Department. Barr confirmed he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein decided that Trump’s conduct did not constitute a crime. >> Related: What is in the Mueller report? Update 5:20 p.m. EDT March 24: The Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Jerry Nadler, responded to President Donald Trump’s statement Sunday afternoon that the Mueller report offered him “complete and total exoneration.” Nadler disputed Trump’s characterization of the report, clarifying what Mueller actually said in the report. “The Special Counsel states that ‘while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him,’” Nadler said Nadler also confirmed his plan to call Attorney General William Barr to testify before the committee. “In light of the very concerning discrepancies and final decision making at the Justice Department following the Special Counsel report, where Mueller did not exonerate the President, we will be calling Attorney General Barr in to testify before (the House Judiciary Committee) in the near future, Nadler said on Twitter. Update 5:10 p.m. EDT March 24: Attorney General William Barr detailed the resources special prosecutor Robert Mueller used during his two-year investigation in his summary of the report to Congress. Barr said the Mueller team “employed 19 lawyers who were assisted by a team of approximately 40 FBI agents, intelligence analysts, forensic accountants, and other professional staff. The Special Counsel issued more than 2,800 subpoenas, executed nearly 500 search warrants, obtained more than 230 orders for communication records, issued almost 50 orders authorizing use of pen registers, made 13 requests to foreign governments for evidence, and interviewed approximately 500 witnesses.” Barr said Mueller’s report also does not recommend any further indictments. Update 4:50 p.m. EDT March 24: President Donald Trump and members of his administration feel vindicated by the Mueller report. Trump just sent his first tweet on the report since Robert Mueller sent it to the Justice Department on Friday. “No Collusion, No Obstruction, Complete and Total EXONERATION. KEEP AMERICA GREAT!,” the president wrote. His press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders issued this statement after Attorney General William Barr sent a summary of Mueller’s report to Congress Sunday afternoon. 'The Special Counsel did not find any collusion and did not find any obstruction. AG Barr and DAG Rosenstein further determined there was no obstruction. The findings of the Department of Justice are a total and complete exoneration of the President of the United States.” Update 4:15 p.m. EDT March 24: The summary included these points: -The investigation by special prosecutor Robert Mueller did not find President Donald Trump or any of his campaign team coordinated with the Russian government to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, according to a summary Attorney General William Barr sent to Congress Sunday. -The probe also did not find sufficient evidence that the president illegally obstructed justice, but the Mueller team stopped short of exonerating the president, according to The Associated Press.  -Barr’s summary said Mueller did not reach any conclusions on the president’s conduct. -Barr also said in the summary that he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein did not consider constitutional questions relating to criminal charges against a sitting president in reaching their conclusion, the AP reported. UPDATE 3:30 p.m. EDT March 24: Rep. Jerry Nadler said the Department of Justice issued a letter saying it is “determined not to make a traditional prosecutorial judgement” in terms of the findings in the report. Related: What is in the Mueller report? Nadler tweeted quotes from the letter, which can be read in full here. UPDATE March 24 3:10 p.m. EDT: Congress has been told to expect a Mueller report summary with in the hour, The Associated Press reported, according to two unnamed sources familiar with plans from the Justice Department. UPDATE 2:30 p.m. EDT: President Donald Trump has been relatively quiet leading up to the release of the report, according to The Associated Press. Sources not authorized to speak publicly claim Trump is relieved no new indictments have come from the probe. The AP reported that Trump has been in Palm Beach, Florida, over the weekend, golfing and spending time with family. He’s also been less engaged on Twitter, only posting “Good Morning, Have A Great Day!” and “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!” Sunday morning. UPDATE 9 p.m. EDT March 23:  Attorney General William Barr scoured special counsel Robert Mueller’s confidential report on the Russia investigation with his advisers Saturday, deciding how much Congress and the American public will get to see about the two-year probe into President Donald Trump and Moscow’s efforts to elect him, according to The Associated Press. Barr was on pace to release his first summary of Mueller’s findings on Sunday, people familiar with the process said. UPDATE 1:50 p.m. EDT March 23: Congress will not receive a summary of Mueller’s findings  Saturday, multiple media outlets have reported. The Washington Post cited a “senior Justice Department official” for this information, while Politico tweeted that “two sources familiar with the discussion” confirmed the news. President Trump flew Friday to his Mar-a-Lago resort with senior White House officials and lawyers, The Washington Post reported. Original report: The delivery of the report to Barr officially concludes the probe that has cast a shadow over the Trump administration from its earliest days. >> Read more trending news  Trump, who flew to Florida on Friday, has not yet commented on the report. Press secretary Sarah Sanders said the White House would not be seeing the report -- at least not for now. Barr, in a one-page letter, told Congressional leaders he would be able to advise them of the “principal conclusions” of the report as soon as this weekend. In the letter, Barr confirmed that there was no requests made by Mueller to take a specific action – such as subpoenaing a witness – that was not granted by the DOJ. “There were no such instances during the Special Counsel’s investigation.' Related: Read the letter William Barr sent to members of Congress It is up to Barr how much of the report Congress or the public will be able to see. Trump has said he would not care if the report was released to the public. According to an anonymous DOJ source, there will be no further indictments born out of the investigation, meaning Mueller’s work is done. Related: Who has Robert Mueller already indicted in his investigation? Since the investigation began in May of 2017, Mueller’s team of prosecutors has indicted or accepted plea deals from 35 people. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, issued a joint statement, saying “it is imperative for Mr. Barr to make the full report public and provide its underlying documentation and findings to Congress. . . . The American people have a right to the truth.” The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski announced on Instagram that he is retiring from football following the team's Super Bowl LIII win, ending his historic nine-year NFL career. >> Read more trending news  Gronkowski was selected in the second round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the Patriots, the team he spent his entire professional career with, following his collegiate career at Arizona. He quickly became a favorite target of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, hauling in 10 touchdowns on 42 receptions throughout his rookie campaign. He followed that up with a historic season, starting all 16 of the team's games in 2011 while compiling 17 touchdowns on 90 receptions for 1,327 yards. His season total for receiving yards stood tall in the record books until the 2018 season, where two tight ends surpassed the mark. Gronkowski battled injuries for multiple seasons throughout his career, but still managed to put together double-digit touchdown totals in five of his nine seasons in the league, the most by a tight end in NFL history. He also set the team record for overall touchdowns in his career, surpassing Stanley Morgan in both overall touchdowns and receiving touchdowns. The tight end won three Super Bowls in his career, helping the Patriots take down the Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX. He was also a part of the Super Bowl LI roster that put together an incredible comeback to win against the Atlanta Falcons, but did not play due to injury. >> Related: Mass. woman awaiting heart, kidney transplant meets Gronk The thing most Patriots fans will remember about Gronkowski, though, will be his personality. An ever-charismatic enigma, Gronkowski was a memorable quote machine, winning the hearts of fans around the country with his persona off the field. >> Related: Rob Gronkowski shaves his head for kids with cancer at Buzz Off event Whether it was a Dunkin' commercial with David Ortiz, appearances in movies, memorable moments during championship parades or his hilarious thoughts in press conferences and interviews, Gronkowski gained quite the reputation around New England with all of his antics off the field. Gronkowski also had an impact on the community when he wasn't dominating on the football field, winning the Ron Burton Community Service Award in 2016, named after the first player drafted by the team. Burton was known as a community leader, and the team said his 'widespread charitable work was a model for how a Patriots player can make an impact off the field.' >> Related: Gronk announces he will play for the Patriots this season He also participated in many community events throughout his time in New England, and frequently 'buzzed off' his hair for kids with cancer at events during his summers. Gronkowski faced a lot of questions later in his career as injuries piled up, with retirement rumors swirling following the 2017 season.  However, Gronkowski decided to return to the field for the 2018 season, with his performance not meeting what many Patriots fans were used to throughout his career. His targets went down, he didn't find the end zone as much and things had changed. Following the season, Gronkowski decided he had done enough, wrapping up his career in a Patriots uniform with the final decision to hang up the cleats. With a faulty back and a body that's gone under the knife countless times over the last 15 years, Gronkowski is now forced to close the book on a Hall of Fame-worthy career. >> Related: Report: Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski to consider retirement again after playoffs From here on out, Gronkowski will enjoy an eternal spot as one of the league's all-time greats, a three-time Super Bowl champion and an unforgettable cog in New England's championship machine.
  • President Donald Trump said Sunday the release of a summary of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report into possible collusion and Russian interference into the 2016 presidential election completely exonerated him of collusion and obstruction.  >> Read more trending news  “No Collusion, No Obstruction, Complete and Total EXONERATION,” Trump tweeted Sunday.  >>Read Mueller report: DOJ releases summary U.S. Attorney General William Barr released the four-page letter Sunday.  Barr wrote that the special counsel stated 'while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.
  • A brief summary of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion and Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election was released Sunday.  >> Read more trending news  Here is the four-page letter Attorney General William Barr sent to members of Congress.