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Saturday, October 02, 2010

U.S. to Issue Terrorism Alert for Travel to Europe - NYTimes.com

U.S. to Issue Terrorism Alert for Travel to Europe - NYTimes.com
The State Department plans to issue an alert on Sunday urging Americans traveling to Europe to be vigilant about possible terrorist attacks, an American official said Saturday.
The decision to caution travelers comes as counterterrorism officials in Europe and the United States are assessing intelligence about possible plots originating in Pakistan and North Africa aimed at Britain, France and Germany.
A travel alert would merely urge extra caution during a specific time and would not discourage Americans from visiting Europe. The official, who did not want to be identified speaking about internal government deliberations, said a stronger “travel warning” that might advise Americans not to visit Europe was not under consideration.
European officials have been concerned about the impact on tourism and student travel from any official guidance to American travelers.
The Associated Press first reported on Saturday the possibility that the State Department might caution travelers to Europe.
American intelligence officials said last week that they were pursuing reports of possible attacks against European cities, including information from a German citizen of Afghan origin captured in Afghanistan in July. The German, said to be named Ahmed Sidiqi, 36, from Hamburg, had traveled to the Waziristan region of Pakistan and received firearms and explosives training, a senior European official told The New York Times.
Mr. Sidiqi described plans for attacks by small armed groups in European cities, the official said. Other officials have said such attacks might be modeled on the 2008 assault in Mumbai. Those attacks, attributed to a radical Islamic group based in Pakistan, killed at least 173 people.
In August, the State Department renewed a “worldwide alert,” saying officials remained “concerned about the continued threat of terrorist attacks” against Americans overseas. Any new alert would presumably be more narrowly focused.

John H. Armwood Weekly News Podcast, Saturday October 2, 2010

This podcast is for the week ending Saturday October 2, 2010.  The Archive of my previous News Podcasts is found here



Friday, October 01, 2010

Another Case Of Genocide - Syphilis Experiment Is Revealed, Prompting U.S. Apology to Guatemala - NYTimes.com

Syphilis Experiment Is Revealed, Prompting U.S. Apology to Guatemala - NYTimes.com

From 1946 to 1948, American public health doctors deliberately infected nearly 700 Guatemalans — prison inmates, mental patients and soldiers — with venereal diseases in what was meant as an effort to test the effectiveness of penicillin.
American tax dollars, through the National Institutes of Health, even paid for syphilis-infected prostitutes to sleep with prisoners, since Guatemalan prisons allowed such visits. When the prostitutes did not succeed in infecting the men, some prisoners had the bacteria poured onto scrapes made on their penises, faces or arms, and in some cases it was injected by spinal puncture.
If the subjects contracted the disease, they were given antibiotics.
“However, whether everyone was then cured is not clear,” said Susan M. Reverby, the professor at Wellesley College who brought the experiments to light in a research paper that prompted American health officials to investigate.
The revelations were made public on Friday, when Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius apologized to the government of Guatemala and the survivors and descendants of those infected. They called the experiments “clearly unethical.”
“Although these events occurred more than 64 years ago, we are outraged that such reprehensible research could have occurred under the guise of public health,” the secretaries said in a statement. “We deeply regret that it happened, and we apologize to all the individuals who were affected by such abhorrent research practices.”
In a twist to the revelation, the public health doctor who led the experiment, John C. Cutler, would later have an important role in the Tuskegee study in which black American men with syphilis were deliberately left untreated for decades. Late in his own life, Dr. Cutler continued to defend the Tuskegee work.
His unpublished Guatemala work was unearthed recently in the archives of the University of Pittsburgh by Professor Reverby, a medical historian who has written two books about Tuskegee.
President Álvaro Colom of Guatemala, who first learned of the experiments on Thursday in a phone call from Mrs. Clinton, called them “hair-raising” and “crimes against humanity.” His government said it would cooperate with the American investigation and do its own.
The experiments are “a dark chapter in the history of medicine,” said Dr. Francis S. Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health. Modern rules for federally financed research “absolutely prohibit” infecting people without their informed consent, Dr. Collins said.
Professor Reverby presented her findings about the Guatemalan experiments at a conference in January, but nobody took notice, she said in a telephone interview Friday. In June, she sent a draft of an article she was preparing for the January 2011 issue of the Journal of Policy History to Dr. David J. Sencer, a former director of the Centers for Disease Control. He prodded the government to investigate.
In the 1940s, Professor Reverby said, the United States Public Health Service “was deeply interested in whether penicillin could be used to prevent, not just cure, early syphilis infection, whether better blood tests for the disease could be established, what dosages of penicillin actually cured infection, and to understand the process of re-infection after cures.”
It had difficulties growing syphilis in the laboratory, and its tests on rabbits and chimpanzees told it little about how penicillin worked in humans.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Carl "Tony Soprano" Paladino Now Lies In An Attempt To Contain Damage From His Death Threat

Here Is a Shorter Version Of Carl "Tony Soprano" Paladino Death Threat against a New York Post Reporter


Emanuel to Depart White House for Chicago Mayoral Bid - NYTimes.com

Rahm Emanuel, White House Chief of Staff, form...Image via WikipediaEmanuel to Depart White House for Chicago Mayoral Bid - NYTimes.com
President Obama will give his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, a send-off Friday as Mr. Emanuel officially announces his departure from the West Wing to run for mayor of Chicago, officials familiar with the decision said.
Mr. Obama plans to name Pete Rouse, a senior adviser, to replace Mr. Emanuel, two officials confirmed. Mr. Rouse has been at the president’s side since Mr. Obama arrived in Washington nearly six years ago as a senator, serving as his chief of staff.
Mr. Rouse will not be an interim appointment, but rather will formally take over Mr. Emanuel’s title. While Mr. Rouse has expressed reservations about holding the chief of staff job for an extended period, he has agreed to do the job – for now.
Mr. Rouse has a low profile outside the White House and across Washington, but he is extraordinarily close to the president and is respected inside the West Wing and on Capitol Hill, where he was known as the “101st Senator” in his role as an adviser to Senator Tom Daschle of South Dakota, then the Democratic leader.
When Mr. Daschle was defeated in 2004, Mr. Obama hired Mr. Rouse to run his Senate office, a decision that was central to Mr. Obama’s abrupt political rise.
Mr. Emanuel, who has been an outsized presence in the White House since Mr. Obama’s first days, has continued to hold his regular 7:30 a.m. strategy meetings with top White House officials even as he has spent time huddling with political advisers to plan a mayoral run.
He is expected to return to Chicago quickly to begin his campaign there. He has canceled events in Washington – including an event on governing at the National Cathedral next week.
And he also has a new cellphone – with a 312 area code.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Republican Thug New York Gubernatorial Candidate Carl Paladino Threatens To "Take Out" New York Post Newspaper State Editor. That's the Tea Party For You!

Tony Soprano Running For Governor!

msnbc tv: Republicans Deny Oil Spill Commission Subpoena Power

msnbc tv:Republicans Deny Oil spill Commission Subpoena Power

Bishop Long Accuser: "He Knows The Truth" - News Story - WSB Atlanta

Bishop Long Accuser: "He Knows The Truth" - News Story - WSB Atlanta
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The fourth man to file a lawsuit accusing Bishop Eddie Long of sexual coercion talked exclusively to Channel 2 investigative reporter Jodie Fleischer on Wednesday. Spencer LeGrande, a member of New Birth Charlotte said the pastor coerced him into a sexual relationship.

North Koreans Bolster Power of Ruler’s Kin - NYTimes.com

Kim Jong-ilImage via WikipediaNorth Koreans Bolster Power of Ruler’s Kin - NYTimes.com
TOKYO — Kim Jong-il, North Korea’s supreme leader, took new steps on Tuesday to ensure that his family remains in charge after his death, but the biggest leadership shuffling in a generation has so far produced more political intrigue than signs of real change in North Korea, one of the world’s most isolated nations.
Mr. Kim elevated his sister and a close friend to a high military ranking and had his youngest son and heir apparent, Kim Jong-un, made a member of the Central Committee of the ruling Workers’ Party.
The promotions came a day after the younger Mr. Kim was also made a four-star general and seemed aimed at ensuring a dynastic succession that would give Mr. Kim, thought to be in his late 20s, time to solidify his power.
The elevation of the completely unknown Mr. Kim, and hints that other members of the extended Kim clan will exercise power behind the scenes in a kind of Communist regency, add to the uncertainty about North Korea. It appears to have mostly abandoned its incipient economic reforms and has declined to enter new international talks about its nuclear weapons program, leaving its neighbors and the United States alarmed about its intentions.
Few analysts claim to fully understand the inner workings of the North Korean military or the Kim dynasty. But many who watch the country closely say they see few signs that succession will produce a stable, credible leadership that is, at least initially, confident enough to engage with the outside world or to steer resources to economic development rather than the military.
“We worry about Pakistan, but this is potentially every bit as destabilizing as Pakistan,” said William R. Keylor, a professor of international relations at Boston University. “Succession in North Korea would just be an oddity if it were not for the fact that we are dealing with a country with nuclear weapons and delivery systems. That is what makes this serious.”

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Survey: Atheists, agnostics know most about religion | ajc.com

Survey: Atheists, agnostics know most about religion | ajc.com
A new survey of Americans' knowledge of religion found that atheists, agnostics, Jews and Mormons outperformed Protestants and Roman Catholics in answering questions about major religions, while many respondents could not correctly give the most basic tenets of their own faiths.
Forty-five percent of Roman Catholics who participated in the study didn't know that, according to church teaching, the bread and wine used in Holy Communion is not just a symbol, but becomes the body and blood of Christ.
More than half of Protestants could not identify Martin Luther as the person who inspired the Protestant Reformation. And about four in 10 Jews did not know that Maimonides, one of the greatest rabbis and intellectuals in history, was Jewish.
The survey released Tuesday by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life aimed to test a broad range of religious knowledge, including understanding of the Bible, core teachings of different faiths and major figures in religious history. The U.S. is one of the most religious countries in the developed world, especially compared to largely secular Western Europe, but faith leaders and educators have long lamented that Americans still know relatively little about religion.
Respondents to the survey were asked 32 questions with a range of difficulty, including whether they could name the Islamic holy book and the first book of the Bible, or say what century the Mormon religion was founded. On average, participants in the survey answered correctly overall for half of the survey questions.
Atheists and agnostics scored highest, with an average of 21 correct answers, while Jews and Mormons followed with about 20 accurate responses. Protestants overall averaged 16 correct answers, while Catholics followed with a score of about 15.
Not surprisingly, those who said they attended worship at least once a week and considered religion important in their lives often performed better on the overall survey. However, level of education was the best predictor of religious knowledge. The top-performing groups on the survey still came out ahead even when controlling for how much schooling they had completed.
On questions about Christianity, Mormons scored the highest, with an average of about eight correct answers out of 12, followed by white evangelicals, with an average of just over seven correct answers. Jews, along with atheists and agnostics, knew the most about other faiths, such as Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and Judaism. Less than half of Americans know that the Dalai Lama is Buddhist, and less than four in 10 know that Vishnu and Shiva are part of Hinduism.
The study also found that many Americans don't understand constitutional restrictions on religion in public schools. While a majority know that public school teachers cannot lead classes in prayer, less than a quarter know that the U.S. Supreme Court has clearly stated that teachers can read from the Bible as an example of literature.
"Many Americans think the constitutional restrictions on religion in public schools are tighter than they really are," Pew researchers wrote.
The survey of 3,412 people, conducted between May and June of this year, had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points, while the margins of error for individual religious groups was higher.
______________________________________
Unfortunately this is not surprising.
John H. Armwood

Monday, September 27, 2010

PolitiFact Georgia | GOP said candidate Roy Barnes fought to give illegal immigrants the chance to vote

PolitiFact Georgia | GOP said candidate Roy Barnes fought to give illegal immigrants the chance to vote

This election season, illegal immigrants stand alongside President Barack Obama and U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as among the Republicans' favorite bad guys.

Now a Republican spoof attacking Democratic gubernatorial candidate and former Gov. Roy Barnes' career as an attorney said he pushed for them to break the law.

At www.1888kingroy.com, sponsored by the Republican Governors Association, you'll read that
"Roy Barnes has fought to give illegal immigrants the right to vote."

"In other words, no ID, no problemo!" it said.

And if you call 1-888-King-Roy begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 1-888-King-Roy end_of_the_skype_highlighting, you'll be prompted to dial 3 "if you're an illegal immigrant."

It sends you to this recorded message:

"Hola. As you know, Roy has been fighting hard to give you the ability to vote. If you are interested in voting, leave a message and we will get back to you as soon as possible. Adios. Vaya con Dios."

Barnes was "fighting hard" to help illegal immigrants break the law and vote? Dios mio!

If this accusation sticks, it would be a damaging blow for Barnes, a centrist running a close race with Republican candidate and former U.S. Congressman Nathan Deal. Libertarian John Monds trails them.

The RGA's argument is this:

For years, Georgia allowed documents such as utility bills and bank statements to serve as voter identification. In 2005, the state Legislature passed a law requiring that voters present photo identification at the polls. A revised version passed in 2006 after the first law failed legal challenges.

Barnes filed a lawsuit on behalf of clients who said the legislation violated the state constitution. If the suit won, the law would not have gone into effect. That would have meant that voters could use bank statements as identification.

Because Barnes was a member of an advisory board to Georgia Appleseed, a nonprofit the RGA said "specializes in efforts designed to aid illegal immigrants" and has a program to "provide advice on opening a bank account without a Social Security number," the GOP group said he was helping illegal immigrants get the vote.

"Clearly if he had been successful with the lawsuit, Barnes' group, Georgia Appleseed, could have provided a roadmap for more illegal immigrants to obtain bank accounts, and therefore the necessary paperwork to vote," the website concludes.

We took a closer look at the RGA's argument.

Barnes was an attorney for the plaintiffs in 2006's Lake v. Perdue. The suit, filed in Fulton County Superior Court, argued that a law mandating voters to show one of six forms of government-issued photo identification at the polls violated the Georgia Constitution.

The suit lost before the state Supreme Court. But according to the Secretary of State's Office and a voting expert who once served on the Fulton County Board of Registrations and Elections, if the suit had won, bank statements would have been acceptable forms of voter ID.

So the RGA is correct on that count. The old law that allowed bank statements as voter IDs would have been in effect if Barnes had won.

But beyond this point, the RGA's argument falls apart.

For Republicans to claim Barnes fought to give illegal immigrants the right to vote, the former governor would have actually had to have pushed for it. So we took a closer look at what Barnes' lawsuit actually fought for.

There is no mention of illegal immigrants in the complaint Barnes filed on behalf of his clients, much less the idea that they should have access to the polls. The suit objected to the law because it would place high obstacles to voting on the poor, elderly, and visually and physically impaired.

The complaint also argued that the law treated in-person voters differently than absentee voters, who are more often white than black, and that there were better ways to prevent voter fraud.

Laughlin McDonald, the Atlanta director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Voting Rights Project, said that describing Barnes' lawsuit as supporting voting by illegal immigrants is a "misrepresentation of the issue." The ACLU opposed the photo ID law.

Voting rights experts we consulted also agreed the RGA's characterization is incorrect.

"This is really an outrageous distortion," said Daniel Tokaji, a law professor at Ohio State University who is an expert in voting rights.

"They were instead challenging a law that raised serious legal questions, given its potential to impede voting by U.S. citizens of limited means," Tokaji said. "Whether or not one agrees with their position on the legal merits, this is a gross mischaracterization."

Some argued the photo ID requirements might make it more difficult for noncitizens, including illegal immigrants, to cast ballots, said Michael Pitts, a voting rights expert at the Indiana University School of Law. But this has mostly been a "side issue" in the larger debate.

"The lawsuits filed against photo identification requirements have not been based on a desire to provide illegal immigrants with voting rights, rather they have been about whether certain groups of United States citizens, such as the poor, the elderly and African Americans, might be unable to cast a ballot because they do not possess the required photo identification," Pitts said.

We also took a look at Barnes' connection to Georgia Appleseed, which the RGA said "specializes in efforts designed to aid illegal immigrants." If Barnes were indeed on the board of advisers of such a group, a more general claim that he supported advocacy work to aid illegal immigrants might contain some truth.

Executive Director Sharon Hill confirmed that Barnes served on the group's board of directors from 2005 through 2008 and now sits on its board of advisers. Georgia Appleseed issued a news release in response to the ad saying its work is being "mischaracterized."

Chuck Clay, a member of Georgia Appleseed's board of directors as well as a former chairman of the state Republican Party and Republican minority leader of the Georgia state Senate, said the group in no way specializes in helping illegal immigrants.

"That would be 100 percent incorrect," Clay said. "It [the accusation] does make you scratch your head and wonder whether the people saying that looked up the [Georgia Appleseed] website."

U.S. Wants to Make It Easier to Wiretap the Internet - NYTimes.com

U.S. Wants to Make It Easier to Wiretap the Internet - NYTimes.com

WASHINGTON — Federal law enforcement and national security officials are preparing to seek sweeping new regulations for the Internet, arguing that their ability to wiretap criminal and terrorism suspects is “going dark” as people increasingly communicate online instead of by telephone.

Essentially, officials want Congress to require all services that enable communications — including encrypted e-mail transmitters like BlackBerry, social networking Web sites like Facebook and software that allows direct “peer to peer” messaging like Skype — to be technically capable of complying if served with a wiretap order. The mandate would include being able to intercept and unscramble encrypted messages.

The bill, which the Obama administration plans to submit to lawmakers next year, raises fresh questions about how to balance security needs with protecting privacy and fostering innovation. And because security services around the world face the same problem, it could set an example that is copied globally.

James X. Dempsey, vice president of the Center for Democracy and Technology, an Internet policy group, said the proposal had “huge implications” and challenged “fundamental elements of the Internet revolution” — including its decentralized design.

“They are really asking for the authority to redesign services that take advantage of the unique, and now pervasive, architecture of the Internet,” he said. “They basically want to turn back the clock and make Internet services function the way that the telephone system used to function.”

But law enforcement officials contend that imposing such a mandate is reasonable and necessary to prevent the erosion of their investigative powers.

“We’re talking about lawfully authorized intercepts,” said Valerie E. Caproni, general counsel for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. “We’re not talking expanding authority. We’re talking about preserving our ability to execute our existing authority in order to protect the public safety and national security.”

Investigators have been concerned for years that changing communications technology could damage their ability to conduct surveillance. In recent months, officials from the F.B.I., the Justice Department, the National Security Agency, the White House and other agencies have been meeting to develop a proposed solution.

There is not yet agreement on important elements, like how to word statutory language defining who counts as a communications service provider, according to several officials familiar with the deliberations.

But they want it to apply broadly, including to companies that operate from servers abroad, like Research in Motion, the Canadian maker of BlackBerry devices. In recent months, that company has come into conflict with the governments of Dubai and India over their inability to conduct surveillance of messages sent via its encrypted service.

In the United States, phone and broadband networks are already required to have interception capabilities, under a 1994 law called the Communications Assistance to Law Enforcement Act. It aimed to ensure that government surveillance abilities would remain intact during the evolution from a copper-wire phone system to digital networks and cellphones.

Often, investigators can intercept communications at a switch operated by the network company. But sometimes — like when the target uses a service that encrypts messages between his computer and its servers — they must instead serve the order on a service provider to get unscrambled versions.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Race Maps Of America | Mail Online

Race Maps Of America | Mail Online

These are the maps that show the racial breakdown of America’s biggest cities.

Using information from the latest U.S. census results, the maps show the extent to which America has blended together the races in the nation’s 40 largest cities.
With one dot equalling 25 people, digital cartographer Eric Fischer then colour-coded them based on race, with whites represented by pink, blacks by blue, Hispanic by orange and Asians by green.

The resulting maps may not represent what many might expect Barack Obama’s integrated rainbow nation to look like, as many cities have clear racial dividing lines.

Bishop Eddie Long's Comments Sunday  | ajc.com

Bishop Eddie Long's comments Sunday | ajc.com

In 2007, the Southern Poverty Law Center called Long "one of the most virulently homophobic black leaders in the religiously based anti-gay movement."
In 2004, Long led a march in Atlanta against homosexuality.
Long, who is on his second marriage, lives a lavish lifestyle, which includes a $350,000 Bentley and a $1.4 million home.
The church was the site of the 2006 funeral of Coretta Scott King, Martin Luther King Jr.'s widow, attended by President George W. Bush. Then-NAACP Chair Julian Bond refused to attend the funeral at the church, calling Long "a raving homophobe."

Pentagon destroys thousands of copies of Army officer's memoir - CNN.com

Pentagon destroys thousands of copies of Army officer's memoir - CNN.com
Washington (CNN) -- The Department of Defense recently purchased and destroyed thousands of copies of an Army Reserve officer's memoir in an effort to safeguard state secrets, a spokeswoman said Saturday.
"DoD decided to purchase copies of the first printing because they contained information which could cause damage to national security," Pentagon spokeswoman Lt. Col. April Cunningham said.
In a statement to CNN, Cunningham said defense officials observed the September 20 destruction of about 9,500 copies of Army Reserve Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer's new memoir "Operation Dark Heart."
Shaffer says he was notified Friday about the Pentagon's purchase.
"The whole premise smacks of retaliation," Shaffer told CNN on Saturday. "Someone buying 10,000 books to suppress a story in this digital age is ludicrous."
Shaffer's publisher, St. Martin's Press, released a second printing of the book that it said had incorporated some changes the government had sought "while redacting other text he (Shaffer) was told was classified."
From single words and names to entire paragraphs, blacked out lines appear throughout the book's 299 pages.
CNN obtained a memo from the Defense Intelligence Agency dated August 6 in which Lt. Gen. Ronald Burgess claims the DIA tried for nearly two months to get a copy of the manuscript. Burgess said the DIA's investigation "identified significant classified information, the release of which I have determined could reasonably be expected to cause serious damage to national security."
Burgess said the manuscript contained secret activities of the U.S. Special Operations Command, CIA and National Security Agency.
Shaffer's lawyer, Mark Zaid, said earlier this month that the book was reviewed by Shaffer's military superiors prior to publication.
"There was a green light from the Army Reserve Command," Zaid told CNN.
But intelligence agencies apparently raised objections when they received copies of the book.
The Pentagon contacted St. Martin's Press in early August to convey its concerns over the release of the book. According to the publisher, at that time the first printings were just about to be shipped from its warehouse. Shaffer said he and the publisher worked hard "to make sure nothing in the book would be detrimental to national security."
"When you look at what they took out (in the 2nd edition), it's lunacy," Shaffer said.
The Pentagon says Shaffer should have sought wider clearance for the memoir.
"He did clear it with Army Reserve but not with the larger Army and with Department of Defense," Department of Defense spokesman Col. David Lapan said earlier this month. "So he did not meet the requirements under Department of Defense regulations for security review."
One of the book's first lines reads, "Here I was in Afghanistan (redaction) My job: to run the Defense Intelligence Agency's operations out of (redaction) the hub for U.S. operations in country."
In chapter 15, titled "Tipping Point," 21 lines within the first two pages are blacked out.
In the memoir, Shaffer recalls his time in Afghanistan leading a black-ops team during the Bush administration. The Bronze Star medal recipient told CNN he believes the Bush administraton's biggest mistake during that time was misunderstanding the culture there.
Defense officials said they are in the process of reimbursing the publisher for the cost of the first printing and have not purchased copies of the redacted version.
At least one seller on the online auction site eBay claiming to have a first-edition printing is selling it for an asking price of nearly $2,000. The listed retail price for the second printing is $25.99.

Accused pastor crusaded against homosexuals - CNN.com

Accused pastor crusaded against homosexuals - CNN.com
Accused pastor crusaded against homosexuals
By John Blake, CNN
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
Two men accuse Bishop Eddie Long of sexual "coercion"
Long has built a reputation for ministering to young men
Long publicly condemned homosexuals
Pastor's spokesman says Long denies the allegations
Editor's note: CNN's John Blake first covered Bishop Eddie Long as a religion reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Atlanta, Georgia (CNN) -- As Bishop Eddie Long poked through a salad in his church office one summer day in 1999, he shot a weary look at a person ticking off his ministry's successes.
His Atlanta megachurch had already reached 25,000 members. He had been invited to the White House, built a global television ministry and drove around town in a luxury automobile.
But Long told the visitor who had come to write about him that the pressures of being a high-profile pastor could be brutal.
"You don't want any of this," he said in a raspy baritone as he shook his head. "You don't want any of this ..."
Long didn't get more specific about those pressures.
Today, the 57-year-old minister, known for his public crusades against homosexuality, faces serious allegations.
On Tuesday, two young men who were members of Long's New Birth Missionary Baptist Church filed lawsuits claiming he used his position as their spiritual counselor to coerce them into sexual relationships.
See PDF of lawsuit filed by Maurice Robinson
The men -- Anthony Flagg, 21, and Maurice Robinson, 20 -- allege Long used a private spiritual ceremony to mark a "covenant" between them, with both becoming his "spiritual son."
See PDF of lawsuit filed by Anthony Flagg
Flagg alleges that Long then used that relationship to take him on overnight trips where they shared a bedroom and engaged in kissing, masturbation and "oral sexual contact."
Robinson, who claimed Long engaged in oral sex with him, said the pastor would cite Scripture to justify their relationship.
"We categorically deny the allegations," Art Franklin, Long's spokesman, said in a written statement. "It is very unfortunate that someone has taken this course of action."
Franklin said "our law firm will be able to respond once attorneys have had an opportunity to review the lawsuit."
The men's lawyer, Brenda Joy (B.J.) Bernstein, would not make them available for comment.
Long's crusades against homosexuality
The allegations against Long run contrary to his public image.
He is a celebrity preacher in the black church world and a star in the evangelical world as well. His church is one of the largest in the country.
In the pulpit, Long seamlessly blends muscle and ministry.
He wears tight shirts that display his weight-lifter arms. He writes books such as "Gladiator, the Strength of a Man," that teach men how to be warriors for God. He says he has a special calling to reach out to men.
He's a married man who preaches about the sanctity of the union between a man and a woman. He denounces homosexuality. In 2004, he led a march in Atlanta against gay marriage. He once declared that his church had created a ministry that "delivered" people from homosexuality.
His public statements about gays and lesbians have helped reinforce homophobia in the black church, says Shayne Lee, a sociologist and author of "Holy Mavericks: Evangelical Innovators and the Spiritual Marketplace."
"The homophobic atmosphere he helped perpetuate," Lee said, could "come back to possibly harm him."
Long's controversial ministry
Long has been the center of public controversy before.
In 2005, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that a charity Long created to help the poor and spread the Gospel had made him its biggest beneficiary.
An examination of the nonprofit's tax returns and other documents revealed that the charity provided him with at least amillion dollars in salary over four years, and the use of a $1.4 million home and the $350,000 Bentley.
A frequent critic of black preachers (he once said they "major in storefront churches"), Long responded by saying he was a CEO of a global business who deserved his lifestyle.
"You've got to put me on a different scale than the little black preacher sitting over there that's supposed to be just getting by because the people are suffering," Long said, explaining the compensation he received from his charity.
In 2007, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, of the Senate Finance Committee, sent a letter to Long asking detailed questions about his financial operations. Long was one of six televangelists whom Grassley targeted.
After an initial flurry of publicity following Grassley's request, the investigation appeared to peter out.