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    Amid the growing spread globally of the Coronavirus, the State Department on Thursday issued a dire warning to U.S. citizens, telling them to cease all international travel and return home as soon as possible, or face the chance that they would have to remain overseas for an extended period. 'In countries where commercial departure options remain available, U.S. citizens who live in the United States should arrange for immediate return to the United States, unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period,' the State Department said in an unusual 'Level 4' travel warning.  'U.S. citizens who live abroad should avoid all international travel,' the State Department recommended. Some Americans who are overseas are already having a difficult time returning to the United States because of canceled flights. On Thursday, President Donald Trump said the military was trying to help some who had marooned in South America, as the State Department flatly sent the message that if Americans don't return now - they may be out of luck for some time. “If you choose to travel internationally, your travel plans may be severely disrupted, and you may be forced to remain outside of the United States for an indefinite timeframe,” the travel warning stated. U.S. airlines have already started to drastically cut back on their international service, scrambling travel plans for thousands. For example, American Airlines already announced it would reduce international service by 75 percent.
  • Already more focused on negotiations over a large economic stimulus plan, the Senate on Wednesday sent President Trump an over $100 billion dollar measure that forces health insurance companies to provide free testing for the Coronavirus, boosts food assistance programs and expands emergency unemployment benefits to deal with a growing negative impact of the virus on the U.S. economy. 'Workers who get laid off or have their hours cut to almost nothing need expanded unemployment insurance,' said Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY). 'Yesterday, the Secretary of the Treasury reportedly told Republican Senators that unemployment could hit 20 percent.' While Republicans weren't thrilled with the details of the House-passed bill, especially a new plan to force small businesses to provide sick leave to employees. 'I will vote to pass their bill,' said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. 'This is a time for urgent bipartisan action, and in this case, I do not believe we should let perfection be the enemy of something that will help even a subset of workers.' Votes in the Senate - which are usually 15 minutes in length - were extended to give Senators more time to appear in waves, and not congregate on the Senate floor. 'I would encourage everyone, take full advantage of the 30 minute roll call vote,' McConnell told his colleagues. 'Come in and vote, and leave.' Behind the scenes, GOP lawmakers and the White House were trying to finalize the details of a third Coronavirus relief measure, which could pair direct checks to Americans along with billions in bailout money for the airline industry and more. But there were lawmakers who weren't sold on the idea of sending out checks to millions of American families. 'I don't think that you and I need a $1,000 check,' said Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV). 'I think there's an awful lot of people in America that still have a job, even if they're working from home, that basically it's not going to change their life with that $1,000 check.' The White House was also running into opposition in both parties over the idea of bailouts for the airline industry and more. 'Let me be clear,' Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) wrote in an op-ed, 'we should not bail out large corporations that have enjoyed years of growth and prosperity. I won’t support it.' A key ally of President Trump, Scott has publicly complained that not enough is being done in terms of testing for the virus. 'Every county in the U.S. should have a mobile testing center up and running by Friday,' Scott wrote on Twitter. 'No excuses.” His statement on the bailout also signaled the difficulty in forging a massive stimulus package, as Democrats said they would also press for reforms in the airline and banking industries to be part of those packages. It wasn't clear when the White House would officially unveil the next stimulus plan, or when it would get a vote in the House and Senate.
  • We open with a producer off-camera asking, “Can you give us a brief explanation of what’s going on with your voice?”  Jamie Dupree, dressed for Capitol Hill, immediately begins writing down his response on his tablet. He looks up at the camera with a smirk and simply replies, “No.”  In essence, the documentary ‘Voice of Reason’ is the story of Jamie Dupree’s return to air. But, Jamie’s story transcends radio waves.  [Don’t see the video? Click here] Directed by WSB Videographer Jesse Brooks, ‘Voice of Reason’ is a story of triumph and how in Jamie’s words, despite life’s adversity, “There is no reason to give up.”  As a Cox Media Group Washington correspondent, Jamie spent more than three decades covering Capitol Hill. Nearly two years ago, his method of communication had to change.  Doctors say a rare neurological condition is making it difficult for his brain to tell his tongue what to do while speaking. Placing a pen in his mouth helps him speak. “It’s hard, but I’m working to come back hard,” Jamie tells WSB.  As it became obvious in the last year that his voice was not coming back, Jamie doubled down his efforts to find answers. And that’s when Mike Lupo at CMG’s corporate headquarters contacted a company in Scotland called CereProc.  With innovative technology, CereProc developed a special voice app that allows Jamie to use a simple text-to-speech program to generate news reports in his old voice.  ‘Voice of Reason,’ which became a labor of love for WSB’s Jesse Brooks, delves deeper into CereProc’s technology and Jamie’s emotional journey over the past few years  The documentary is peppered with moving interviews with Jamie’s colleagues, and even a few candid glimpses of Jamie with his kids.  He’s thankful to all who have wished him well. While the condition has obviously affected his job, that’s not what Jamie says hurts him the most –  “Think about not being able to talk to your kids, or your wife or your father or your friends. While my work is hard and different, life is about a lot more than that.”  Specialists at Emory University in Atlanta are trying a new treatment that will slow down the movement of Jamie’s tongue to make it easier for him to speak. In the meantime, Jamie wants everyone to know his overall health is good.  “Let’s be frank about this whole situation -- this sucks,” Jamie tells producers in ‘Voice of Reason,’ adding through misty eyes, “But there is no reason to quit.  “There is no reason to stop trying. And so I’m not going to stop trying.” >>READ MORE ON JAMIE’S 2019 REGIONAL MURROW AWARD.
  • In a historic first from the U.S. Supreme Court, the Justices ruled unanimously on Wednesday that the Eighth Amendment ban on excessive fines does apply to state and local governments, ruling in favor of an Indiana man who had his expensive car seized by police after he was arrested for a small amount illegal drugs. Writing for the High Court, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said 'the protection against excessive fines guards against abuses of government’s punitive or criminal law-enforcement authority' found in the Eighth Amendment. Originally, the Bill of Rights was intended only to be applied to the federal government - but over time, the courts have ruled that it also applies to the states, and this was the first time the U.S. Supreme Court took that step when it comes to the issue of police and civil seizures. “For good reason, the protection against excessive fines has been a constant shield throughout Anglo-American history,' Ginsburg wrote. 'Exorbitant tolls undermine other constitutional liberties.' At issue was a Land Rover SUV that Tyson Timbs had purchased before his arrest, with money from an insurance policy after the death of his father. Under Indiana guidelines, the maximum monetary fine which could be levied against Timbs for his crime of dealing in a controlled substance was $10,000 - but the car was worth more than four times that amount. Reaction was swift in favor of the ruling, as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund labeled it, “A huge victory for criminal justice reform.”
  • A lot of you have asked if we would podcast his final show.  The answer: YES!   So here it is, the final 3 hours of the Neal Boortz Show.   Enjoy!  And AMF Neal, we love you.   Hour #1   Hour #2   Hour #3
  • The Boortz ‘Happy Ending’ BIG FINALE is almost here!  Get your tickets NOW! The star-studded gala is Saturday, January 12th at The Fabulous Fox Theatre! Comedian Jeff Foxworthy, musicians Banks and Shane, along with Neal’s friends Jamie Dupree, Sean Hannity, Clark Howard, Herman Cain and Erick Erickson celebrate The Talkmaster and his 42 year Talk radio career! Few Limited View Tickets still available!   For you last minute planners there are a few limited view tickets still available to The star-studded gala is THIS Saturday, January 12th at The Fabulous Fox Theatre.  Tickets must be purchased at the Fox Box Office ONLY!   Presented by: also sponsored by...
  • There are still some openings to meet Jamie Dupree at WSB! For a $1,000 donation to the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center you and a guest can join Jamie Dupree at the studios of News/Talk WSB on February 21, 2013 for a meet and greet. Contact Lauren Griffin at (404)785-7382

News

  • With more states imposing “safer at home” and quarantine orders because of the coronavirus, families and friends are searching for ways to stay connected. Sure, the telephone works, but more people are using video apps for face-to-face contact. It’s a good way for older citizens to connect with grandchildren without worrying about coming in contact. While hugs may be precious, people are becoming more aware of staying isolated. There are plenty of ways to connect. Here is a look at 12 video-chatting applications: Zoom: This app appears to be geared toward business, but families can use Zoom too. Users initiating a meeting are taken to a virtual room that looks like a table in a conference room. Personal groups of up to 100 people can meet online for free. Business options include packages for sale that allow up to 1,000 participants. Facebook Live: Viewers can connect in real-time from their cellphones, computers and even through their television set. FaceTime: This app, though the Apple store, allows users to make video and audio calls to groups of up to 32 people. FaceTime is available on Apple products including iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. Facebook Messenger: Similar to FaceTime, Messenger allows free video calling around the world for individuals or groups of up to six. It can be used on cellphones, tablets and computers. Skype: This app has been around for a while. Skype can accommodate groups of up to 50 people worldwide, It can be used on computers, mobile devices, XBox One and even smartwatches. WhatsApp: More than 2 billion users take advantage of the WhatsApp. The mobile app works on Android and iOS platforms, making it a good choice for people with friends owning diverse types of devices. The free app allows groups of up to four users per session. Tango: You know the old phrase. It takes two to Tango, and this app restricts video contact to two people. This free app is good but only two! The free app is good for video calling one other person at a time. You can also make voice calls, send messages and play games using Tango. Google Hangouts: This app is free in its basic form. Google Hangouts allows up to 10 participants at a time. You can even video chat through your Gmail accounts. Instagram: Up to six people can video chat at once via Instagram. Houseparty: This video chat app is owned by Epic Games, which developed Fortnite. Houseparty allows people to play video games or test trivia skills through its interface. It is available through Android, iOS, MacOs and Chrome. Snapchat: With Chat 2.0, Snapchat users can use a full, featured video chat service. Snapchat is free to use, but can chew up a lot of data time. It is recommended to connect to a wireless network before making your call. Viber: The Viber app is good for international calls and one-on-one video calls. Calls between Viber users are free, but a fee will apply for calling people without the app.
  • Tom Coburn, a former U.S. senator from Oklahoma known as a conservative political maverick, died after a battle with prostate cancer, according to The Associated Press. He was 72. Coburn retired from the Senate in 2015 after being diagnosed with cancer. He served two terms from 2005 to 2015, KOKI reported. “Oklahoma has lost a tremendous leader, and I lost a great friend today,' U.S. Sen. James Lankford said in a statement. “Dr. Coburn was an inspiration to many in our state and our nation. He was unwavering in his conservative values, but he had deep and meaningful friendships with people from all political and personal backgrounds. He was truly respected by people on both sides of the aisle.” In the Senate, Coburn was the ranking member of the Committee on Homeland Security and also served on the committees on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs; Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions; and Intelligence. From 1995 to 2001, Coburn represented Oklahoma’s 2nd Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. A family physician, Coburn was a member of the Committee on Commerce, where he sat on the subcommittees on Health and Environment as vice-chairman, Energy & Power, and Oversight and Investigations. Coburn was also selected co-chair of the President’s Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS in 2001. Services for Coburn have not been announced, KOKI reported.
  • Florida senior citizens who live in a downtown Orlando high-rise flickered the lights of their apartments Friday in a show of support for the doctors and nurses who are trying to thwart the spread of the coronavirus. Residents of Westminster Towers flickered their apartment lights at 9 p.m. to show support for the medical professionals working at Orlando Health. “Tonight, we flashed all of our lights to show our thanks to the hero health care workers at Orlando Regional Medical Center as they work hard to treat the sick and keep us safe from COVID-19,” Westminster Towers said on Facebook. “Thank you.” The display could be seen from the hospital campus, which is near the apartment building. “Thank you (Westminster Towers) for lighting up the night and our hearts,” the hospital network said on Facebook. “We’re all in this together.”
  • The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Georgia climbed to 2,366 Saturday as the state’s death toll reached 69. Since Friday evening, the confirmed number of Georgians who have died as a result of COVID-19 increased by four, according to the latest data from the Georgia Department of Public Health.  » COMPLETE COVERAGE: Coronavirus in Georgia Health officials also confirmed an additional 168 cases since the 7 p.m. update. Of Georgia’s overall cases, 617 people remain hospitalized, a rate of about 26%, according to the state’s noon figures.  Fulton County still has the most cases with 373, followed by DeKalb with 240, Dougherty County with 205, and Cobb with 181.  As of Monday, the number of confirmed cases across the state was fewer than 1,000 Since Friday evening, Fulton has 26 new cases, while DeKalb has 21 more and 18 more people tested positive in Cobb. Four counties also reported their first cases, including Murray, Walton, Jenkins and Pike.  » MORE: City under siege: Coronavirus exacts heavy toll in Albany A total of 11,051 tests have been conducted so far in Georgia. About 21.4% of those returned positive results. On Friday afternoon, the DPH started releasing data on where people died. Dougherty County leads the count with 13 deaths, followed by Fulton with 12, Cobb County with eight, and Lee County with five. About 2.9% of Georgians who have tested positive for the highly contagious disease have died. » DASHBOARD: Real-time stats and charts tracking coronavirus in Georgia For most, COVID-19 causes only mild or moderate symptoms. Older adults and those with existing health problems are at risk of more severe illnesses, including pneumonia. The vast majority of people recover in a matter of weeks. As numbers spike across the state, Gov. Brian Kemp is urging Georgians to stay home and practice social distancing. At a town hall broadcast Thursday evening, Kemp told residents to heed directives to avoid more restrictive measures, such as a statewide stay-at-home mandate. » RELATED: Kemp urges Georgians to heed virus warnings but balks at drastic steps Bars and nightclubs remain closed across the state, many public gatherings are banned, and the elderly and medically fragile are ordered to shelter in place. » PHOTOS: Metro Atlanta adjusts to shifts in daily life amid coronavirus crisis Many metro Atlanta cities and counties have issued their own stay-at-home orders to residents, shutting down nonessential businesses and imposing curfews. » MORE: DeKalb County issues stay-at-home order Speaking on CNN Saturday morning, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said metro Atlanta’s hospitals are already nearing capacity.  “...We are a large urban city in an even larger metropolitan area, so on a good day our hospitals and our ICU beds are at a premium,” she said. “What people have to realize is strokes don’t stop, diabetes and these things that send people into our emergency rooms, these things continue. It’s stressing our health care system and you add this pandemic on top of it and we have a real problem of it brewing right here in Atlanta.” » RELATED: Bottoms: Stay home so others ‘have an opportunity to simply live’ Those who believe they are experiencing symptoms or have been exposed to COVID-19 are asked to contact their primary care doctor or an urgent care clinic. Do not show up unannounced at an emergency room or health care facility. Georgians can also call the state COVID-19 hotline at 844-442-2681 to share public health information and connect with medical professionals.  — Please return to AJC.com for updates.
  • He has been a prominent face during the White House Coronavirus Task Force briefings. Now, Anthony Fauci’s face is prominently featured on doughnuts in a New York shop. According to WHAM-TV, Donuts Delite, in Rochester, introduced the sweet treat Monday as a tribute to Fauci, 79, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a doctor for the National Institutes of Health. Nick Semeraro, owner of Donut Delites, said his employees have made “thousands” of doughnuts, the television station reported. “We wanted to find a way to cheer up the people in our neighborhood,” Semeraro told CNN. “We noticed Dr. Fauci on (television), and we loved his message and how thorough he was, and how he kept everyone informed during the crisis... so we wanted to give back and say thanks.” The shop printed Fauci’s face on edible paper and put it on top of a buttercream-frosted doughnut, the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reported. Fauci’s image was then encircled with frosting decorated with red, white and blue sprinkles, the newspaper reported. “Right now, we’re selling over 100 an hour at least,” Semararo told WHAM. “We had no idea they would blow up like that. “It just started as a tribute,” Semararo told the television station. “It started as a thank you. It’s sticking, and I think it’s great. People are stuck at home and what’s happening is, it’s starting conversations. Whether they pick it up for someone, it starts that thinking outside of the box and giving back.” Semararo said he would continue to make the doughnuts as long as there is a demand. “I never met a guy that worldwide (who) is so loved,” Semeraro told CNN. “And a month ago, we never knew his first and last name... His political agenda is medical. It’s facts ... the American public needs facts now.”
  • The chief executive officer of Texas Roadhouse restaurants said he is giving up his salary and bonus so the chain’s front-line employees can be paid during the coronavirus pandemic. Wayne Kent Taylor will begin donating his checks from the pay period beginning March 18 through Jan. 7, 2021, Market Watch reported Wednesday. Louisville Business First reported Taylor’s total compensation package in 2018 was $1.3 million with his base salary being $525,000. In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Texas Roadhouse said it is also suspending its dividend in an effort to conserve cash during the pandemic, according to Market Watch. Texas Roadhouse, a publicly traded company based in Kentucky, employs more than 56,000 workers and has 563 locations in the U.S. and internationally, the website reported. Taylor, 63, founded the chain in 1993, opening his first restaurant in Clarksville, Indiana, USA Today reported.