Have any millionaires ever been executed in the United States?

From The Straight Dope:

If the expression “You simply cannot hang a millionaire in America,” attributed to politician and orator William Bourke Cockran (1854-1923), is timeworn, Tim, it’s not from overuse–Google turns up a big four hits. That tells you something about U.S. attitudes right there, because the fact is, while a few millionaires have gone to the gallows (chair, whatever), we haven’t hanged many. Let’s count:

Man Found with 1,300 Rats in his One Bedroom Apartment


PETALUMA, Calif. (AP) – It all started four years ago when Roger Dier bought a baby rat to feed his pet Indian python. But when he saw the furry little critter squeaking for its life, the lifelong animal lover said he didn’t have the heart to let it become just another snake snack.

“I couldn’t stand it,” he told The Press Democrat of Santa Rosa. “I took the rat out of the cage and got to know it.”

After that, Dier was hooked on the rodents, which he described as gentle, lovable and an endless source of entertainment. He later bought four more at the pet store _ but didn’t think to spay or neuter them.

Last week, animal control officers discovered more than 1,300 rats in Dier’s small one-bedroom Petaluma home, after a neighbor complained about the foul smell. He was cited for misdemeanor animal cruelty.

Dier, 67, said depression, loneliness, denial and a recent bout of flu and bronchitis kept him from maintaining control of the fast-breeding population.

Supposing… I’m Too Old for MySpace

An editorial on MySpace:

Because I don’t “get” it. I mean, I know what MySpace is and what it’s supposed to do and how influential it is. It’s just that whenever I’ve visited a MySpace page I’ve thought “is that it?” and wandered around the perimeter looking confused, like a blind man patting the walls for an exit he can’t find.

So users create a page and upload their music and photos and videoclips; they post blog entries and links to other stuff and leave witty little messages for one another. And it all meshes together to form a thriving social network. Okey dokey. On the surface it all makes sense.

Yet it’s not for me. I mean, I could go and create a page myself, but somehow I’d rather scrape my retina off with a car key. At 35, I’m too ancient for MySpace – I’d look like a school-gate paedo – but that’s not really the issue. No. It’s simply bloody-minded “olditude” on my part – the same sort of fusty grumbliness that made greying musos boycott CDs in favour of vinyl in the 80s because they JUST DIDN’T WANT TO KNOW about this new-fangled whatchamathing.

Scientology Orientation Videos

The rest of the parts seem to be on YouTube now. (It seems to start at Part 2 for some reason.)

Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9
Part 10

I’ll watch through them and give the highlights:

Part 2 starts off explaining why Scientology is an actual religion (REALLY! We swear!) and compares L. Ron Hubbard to Buddha.(I didn’t know Siddartha wrote bad sci-fi) We also find out that L. Ron was “fully professional in 29 different fields” such as aviation, ethnology, filmmaking and getting rich hollywood actors to hand over lots and lots of money. (Ok, I made up the last one……. wait, no I didn’t)

Part 3 continues the tour through the L.Ron Museum where it is explained that he gave his entire fortune to the Church of Scientology so that it would “always be here for the benefit of all mankind.” So, he is kind of like the Warren Buffet of space cults. Part 3 starts getting creepy, er, creepier when the tour guide explains how the government realized the power of dianetics and tried to wrestle it from L.Ron. *cue scary music*

Part 4 takes us to the book store where people are lining up to buy Dianetics like it was the latest Harry Potter book. (Bad example I know. Harry Potter has a better chance of being real than Dianetics) The rest of Part 4 mostly deals with what Scientology books a good beginning Scientologist should have in their library. Surprisingly, Battlefield Earth is not mentioned.

Part 5, The Organization. We find out that all the churches of Scientology have a Dept. 21 or Office of L.Ron Hubbard which is a large furnished office set aside for Ron as a symbol of… oh whothefuckknows. My thetans are starting to yell at me for starting this synopsis. All I know is that the glassy-eyed lady in L. Ron Hubbard’s office is really creeping me out. We head over to the “Director of Processing” to find out how Scientology works.

Part 6, Auditing. The Director of Processing, let’s just call him scary moustache man, holds up a chart and explains how auditing can help you gain iq points. And by explaining I mean he holds a pencil up to the chart. Get it? Scary moustache man start in on how psychology is a scam and looks like he is about to jump on a couch at any moment. Scary moustache man then says “Only a raving lunatic would try to harm Dianetics and Scientology, or Scientologists for that matter. They need psychiatric help, that would finish them.” Even the scientology moderator looks a bit scared.

Part 7. Pretty boring up until the 1:33 when we get to the ecclesiastical redress of wrongs or the Scientology justice system where you can resolve disputes against fellow wackos Scientologists.

Part 8 Starts off restating how they are an actual honest to goodness real religion. Really! The IRS said so and they’re always right! “Even your donations are tax deductible. Just like any other religion.” Then Part 8 goes to the TESTIMONIALS! WOOHOO! Isaac Hayes makes a cameo.

Part 9. The testimonials continue. Kirstie Alley tells us that without Scientology, she would be dead. Vinnie Barbarino finishes off the Testimonials.

Part 10 wraps up this insanity by telling us that we are perfectly free not to think about Scientology, “It would be stupid, but you can do it. You can also jump off a bridge or blow your brains out. That is your choice.” WTF??? Those are your options??

There you have it. The Scientology orientation film. Feeling clear yet?


You can download the entire video at the Internet Archive:
(Thanks George)

Update 2:
Xenu is thwarted once again by L. Ron’s mighty legal team. The YouTube videos have been taken down but you can still see the entire video at the Internet Archive.