The latest "killing" in Arkansas!


And the three or four which produced it:
In yesterday's award-winning post, we discussed Rachel Maddow's heroic treatment of Arkansas' recent "killings."

Later, we had occasion to read the New York Times' front-page report about the most recent "killing." We thought it was superb journalism, of a type you won't encounter on Maddow's corporate-funded TV show.

For ourselves, we oppose capital punishment; in fact, we always have. We also oppose the kind of "journalism" practiced on the Maddow program. We thought the Times provided the kind of work you'll never encounter there.

What type of journalism did the Times provide in its front-page report? Let's start with this:

In the case of the most recent "killing," it described the three or four killings or deaths which had gone before it.

According to the New York Times, the state of Arkansas "executed" Kenneth D. Williams this Thursday night. We're opposed to all executions.

At the same time, we favor journalism of this type,
in which people were allowed to hear what Williams did in 1998:
BLINDER AND FERNANDEZ (4/28/17): The state built its death chamber in 1978, and Mr. Williams was born the next year. In 1998, he emptied a revolver after a robbery in neighboring Jefferson County, killing a 19-year-old woman, Dominique Nicole Hurd. When Mr. Williams was spared the death penalty and sentenced to life in prison, he mocked Ms. Hurd’s relatives, turning to them and saying, “You thought I was going to die, didn’t you?”

He was sent to Cummins and, weeks after his arrival, escaped by hiding inside a 500-gallon tank that was brimming with hog slop. [Cecil] Boren was in his yard, working while his wife was at church, when Mr. Williams arrived. The fugitive entered the house, stole one of Mr. Boren’s guns, shot him seven times, seized his victim’s wallet and drove off in his truck.

In Missouri the next day, Mr. Williams led the police on a high-speed pursuit that ended when he struck a water truck, killing its driver. Sentenced to death for Mr. Boren’s murder, Mr. Williams later wrote a letter to The Pine Bluff Commercial, an Arkansas newspaper, and confessed to another killing that had been unsolved.
Who was Cecil Boren? According to the Times, he was, at the time of his death, "a former Internal Revenue Service worker who had been an assistant warden at the Cummins Unit, the prison where Mr. Williams awaited his execution [last week]."

Who was 19-year-old Dominique Hurd? Your question is very important.

You can see a photo, and read about her, at this memorial scholarship site. We can offer no photograph of the relatives Williams crazily mocked.

If the world operated on our views, there would have been no execution this week. In typical award-winning fashion, we're inclined to believe that, when Person A murders Person B, each person's life has been lost.

Person A's life had perhaps been lost at some earlier point. We don't know why Williams did the things he did, but we wouldn't have executed him for it.

That said, Williams wasn't the only player in this gruesome drama. Yesterday morning, the New York Times did what Maddow will never do:

The Times let you ponder, if just for a moment, the three or four people whom Williams killed or caused to die in the crimes for which he was later sentenced to death. The Times also told you how these events are viewed by the survivors of three of Williams' victims.

Those survivors have different outlooks. At least one family asked the governor to cancel this week's execution:
BLINDER AND FERNANDEZ: The daughter of Michael Greenwood, the man killed during the pursuit in Missouri, urged Gov. Asa Hutchinson to stop the execution. “We are in no way asking you to ignore the pain felt by the victims of Mr. Williams’s other crimes,” Kayla Greenwood wrote in a letter this week. “We know what they are going through, but ours is a pain that we have decided not to try and cure by seeking an execution.”
For much more on Kayla Greenwood (and her mother), see below. As a general matter, Maddow doesn't degrade herself by mentioning people like them.

Kayla Greenwood and her family weren't seeking Williams' death. According to the New York Times, other survivors felt differently about the impending execution:
BLINDER AND FERNANDEZ: Mr. Boren’s widow declined to be interviewed. Her family opposed clemency for Mr. Williams.

Vickie Williams, Ms. Hurd’s mother and no relation to Mr. Williams, said her daughter had ambitions of being a neonatologist as a biology and premedical student at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, where she was known as Nicky. Ms. Williams said she did not plan to attend the execution, but she supported it.

“He did not receive the death penalty for killing Nicky,” she wrote in an email. “If proper justice was served, others may not have lost their lives.
The justice system is very confusing. Everyone has rights except for the families of victims.”
Once again, for a photo of Nicky Hurd, you can just click here.

Meanwhile, is her mother right? Does everyone have rights except the families of victims?

We'll guess that's an overstatement. That said, victims and their families don't exist on the Maddow Show, which mainly exists to announce the moral greatness of the program's weirdly unbalanced, bizarrely self-involved multimillionaire host.

(You know? The one who weirdly grins and chuckles all night? Because the consultants said?)

The Times report also describes the thinking of some local residents who aren't related to the people Williams killed. They all seem to support capital punishment, certainly so in this case.

In that judgment, those Arkansans are expressing a view which people have held since the dawn of time. At the present time, that view is shared by a handful of others, including Clinton and Clinton, Obama, Gore, Kerry and Biden, just to pull names from a hat.

On Maddow's show in recent weeks, you weren't required to hear about what Williams crazily did. You did hear Maddow suggest that Arkansas was rushing the "killing" of Williams through. You weren't told that his case had been in the courts for nineteen years.

(Most excitingly, you were also told that Justice Gorsuch "voted for his first killing." This brave declaration was designed to give you an especially cheap tribal thrill, in line with corporate strategy for Maddow's embarrassing program.)

You didn't hear about Dominique Hurd, the 19-year-old who wasn't going to be a Rhodes scholar from a school like Stanford. You didn't hear about her mother. You didn't hear about Mrs. Boren, who became a widow in 1998. You didn't hear about Kayla Greenwood and her mother (much more on them below).

Why didn't you hear about these people? Let's think back to the spring of 2009, when you heard about folk of their general type on the Maddow Show. That's when Maddow spent two weeks dropping dick jokes on the heads of such throw-away people—people from the comically lesser ends of the earth.

(And yes, this very much does explain who you meet on this program.)

Last night, Maddow performed overt journalistic malpractice concerning Flynn and Pence. Last Friday, she staged her silly exhibition about the state of Arkansas' "killings." (It's one of her trademarked plays.)

Increasingly, Maddow is a clown, a devolving basket case, a journalistic con man. She now struts and frets and plays the fool pretty much every night. That stupid old DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS is totally gone.

Night after night, she mocked these people in 2009; night after night, she was even willing to pretend that she was embarrassed to do so. In these ways, our multimillionaire corporate stars helped put Donald J. Trump where he currently is.

For ourselves, we oppose capital punishment. Does Maddow? She's so busy acting out, we never quite hear her say that.

More on Kayla Greenwood: For (much, much) more on Kayla Greenwood (and her mother), you can just click here.

You can see a photo of Greenwood at age 5, just before her father was killed. You can see a photo of her younger brother, with whom her mother was pregnant.

"Regular people" do remarkable things, as you can see at that link. You will never learn such facts on a certain cable TV show, a show designed to churn good ratings, thus pleasing the corporate suits.

The program exists to promote its host and to Hannityize our tribe. In such ways, we self-impressed liberals have worked quite hard to put Donald Trump where he is.


  1. I'm not sure if rancor is the deodorant of the day but we must ask, "Who got the putting green disaster right, Bob or Rachel?" It would seem to be the latter. As a truely evil nutecase heads our Executive Branch, good to now Bob is always on the case against the true threat to our Country, Rachel Maddow.

    1. go away troll

    2. Maddow was right about the Get Wild 5. And therefore criticism of her is not in any way to be enterprised nor taken in hand unadvisedly, lightly or wantonly to satisfy carnal lusts and appetites like brute beasts that have no understanding.

      But reverently, discreetly, advisedly, soberly and in the fear of Andrew Lack. Duly considering the causes for which cable news was ordained.

    3. This fruitcake must be credited with trying out some very specific satire. Being stalked by a nincompoop in the message box of The Daily Howler. Well, not the stuff of bucket lists but it sure shows my stuff gets under the skin of right wing bozos!!!

  2. The victims of a crime do not determine the punishment. They are understandably not in the right frame of mind to do so.

    It is unclear to me why Somerby is assuming that the victims of this particular set of crimes are necessarily tea-partiers or Trump supporters. Does he imagine that liberals are mocking all residents of rural areas or all Southerners when they object to the behavior of those who put Trump in office?

    Somerby says:

    "in line with corporate strategy for Maddow's embarrassing program"

    I agree that Maddow's show is embarrassing, but it would be wrong to believe that her corporate employers are promoting any particular political viewpoint. They just hired Greta Van Susteren and are in the process of recruiting Hugh Hewitt. They have no corporate agenda short of making money by promoting controversy and doing idiotic things to attract viewers. In their motives, they are no different than Fox and certainly no better -- their strategy is just different.

    I am coming around to the view that Somerby should be attacking both the conservative and the liberal media, since corporate entities are behind both and they both ill serve the public when it comes to informing them so that they can participate in democracy competently.

    I disagree that the details of who was murdered matter when deciding the fate of someone who has broken the law by taking a life. Just as doctors are ethically bound to disregard the details of who they are treating, accepting all life as worthy of healing, courts cannot weight the merits of the victims when deciding how heinous a murder was. All life matters or no life matters. Somerby is wrong to think that Maddow should be telling us the details of the victims and the loss suffered by their loved ones. A murderer who kills another inmate is just as much a murderer. Our justice system must ethically regard it so, and whether the convicted person laughs or not is irrelevant. Somerby should understand that, but apparently he is so lost in empathy these days that he no longer understands how justice works.

  3. "I am coming around to the view that Somerby should be attacking both the conservative and the liberal media..."

    What do you mean by "liberal media"? Mother Jones magazine?

    1. Somerby never criticizes that magazine, but occasionally Kevin Drum, who writes for them. He is a big critic of Salon and TPM. I think these qualify as liberal media.

  4. "Later, we had occasion to read the New York Times' front-page report about the most recent "killing." We thought it was superb journalism, of a type you won't encounter on Maddow's corporate-funded TV show."

    Bob today on the NYT.

    "Our dumbest, most ludicrous newspaper"

    Bob, 2/23/16

    "we'll scan it to help explain the culture of the New York Times, the nation's dumbest, most addled upper-class newspaper."

    Bob 1/8/16

    "How bad does reporting get at the New York Times?"

    Bob 7/29/16

    "At the nation's dumbest newspaper, the silliness never sleeps."

    Bob 1/1/16

    Guess it is good journalism when you can use it to compare it to Maddow.

    1. Expecting that if you hold a generally negative view of a paper it means you must hate every article, without exception, seems to be the kind of all-or-nothing, black-and-white thinking that characterizes children and adults with cognitive deficits. They occasionally do something right -- deal with it.

  5. An argument against the death penalty is that an innocent person might have have been wrongfully convicted. We should spare the lives of innocent people.

    However, NOT executing murderers sometimes leads to the death of innocent people. E.g., had Kenneth Williams been promptly executed after his first murder conviction, the lives of Cecil Boren and an innocent truck driver would have been spared.

    1. No one let him escape on purpose. It is ridiculous to believe we must execute prisoners in case they might escape. Sort of like Trump's belief that we must deport all undocumented people in case they commit a crime.

      You seem to be unaware of the statistics that a very tiny % of released murderers commit another murder.

      The biggest cause of murder in the US is interpersonal conflict, hostility. Murder-suicide due to depression is up there too. Easy accessibility to guns and being drunk or on drugs contribute to the murder rate.

      If you are seriously concerned about killings, to the point that you think convicts should be executed in case they might be released and kill again, you should also be very concerned about the number of guns floating around our society. They make it too easy for angry people to act in haste and become murderers over some tragic temporary conflict, such as road rage, domestic arguments, jealousy, work-related stress, or something else (like a fight over sports teams or an unintended insult at a party or bar). We should take guns away from a lot more people so that such murders cannot occur and people have time to sober up and not act in haste.

    2. Anon -- yes, only a few convicted murderers excape. However, a few are released for one reason or another: overcrowding, furlough, leniency, etc. Released murderers commit a small number of additional murders after they're out of prison.

      OTOH, most convicted murderers are guilty. Only a few innocent lives are spared by not imposing the death penalty.

      Which group is larger? Are more innocent people convicted of murder? Or, are more additional murders committed by released murderers? I don't think there's any way to know.

      A more important factor is the deterrent effect. Death penalty opponents assert that the death penalty has no deterrent effect. I don't see how they can be sure.

    3. It isn't that only a few escape but that only a tiny % of murderers kill again.

      Comparisons between states with and eithout the death penalty provide a measurement, as do states that repeal or reinstate the death penalty. There are stats on deterrence. I norice you have ignored my comment about the contribution of guns to our murder rate. Reach for the low hanging fruit if you really care about murder victims.

    4. Yes, one can do such studies, but there are two big problems:

      1. When you compare states or cities or time periods, there are many differences in addition to death penalty or gun laws. So, one cannot be sure what caused different murder rates. E.g., I don't think the extremely high murder rate in Chicago shows that strict gun laws cause more murders. I think the murders in Chicago are more a function of gangs.

      2. Most of these studies are done by partisans, who look for a way to find data that supports their desired conclusio. E.g., John Lott did a study showing that more guns caused less crime. Others did studies designed to refute his conclusions.

    5. Trials that determine guilt or innocence are key American values IMHO. But, some commenters don't seem to share my values. E.g., someone said that convicted murderers shouldn't be executed, because they might be innocent, even though they were convicted in a fair trial. OTOH mm evidently considers Trump to be guilty of various crimes, even though he has not been convicted of them.

    6. Comrade DinC, I don't expect you to be honest with yourself, least not me.

      He most certainly did commit fraud. It is a matter of historical record. Of course for this kind of criminal behavior all he had to do was write a big check to wash his sins away. That's the kind of crime you really dig.

      Oh looky here, some fucking Nazi from the alt-right Breitbart zone who was given a nebulous portfolio inside the White House is reported to be on his way out.

      Sebastian Gorka to accept role outside White House

    7. Comrade DinC, I didn't have time earlier. You have to be willfully blind to not know about pussygrabber's legendary ties to Russian mafia money laundering.


      The president and his companies have been linked to at least 10 wealthy former Soviet businessmen with alleged ties to criminal organizations or money laundering.

      Among them:

      • A member of the firm that developed the Trump SoHo Hotel in New York is a twice-convicted felon who spent a year in prison for stabbing a man and later scouted for Trump investments in Russia.

      • An investor in the SoHo project was accused by Belgian authorities in 2011 in a $55 million money-laundering scheme.

      • Three owners of Trump condos in Florida and Manhattan were accused in federal indictments of belonging to a Russian-American organized crime group and working for a major international crime boss based in Russia.

      • A former mayor from Kazakhstan was accused in a federal lawsuit filed in Los Angeles in 2014 of hiding millions of dollars looted from his city, some of which was spent on three Trump SoHo units.

      • A Ukrainian owner of two Trump condos in Florida was indicted in a money-laundering scheme involving a former prime minister of Ukraine.

      Trump's Russian connections are of heightened interest because of an FBI investigation into possible collusion between Trump's presidential campaign and Russian operatives to interfere in last fall's election. What’s more, Trump and his companies have had business dealings with Russians that go back decades, raising questions about whether his policies would be influenced by business considerations.

      Trump told reporters in February: "I have no dealings with Russia. I have no deals that could happen in Russia, because we’ve stayed away. And I have no loans with Russia. I have no loans with Russia at all."

      Yet in 2013, after Trump addressed potential investors in Moscow, he bragged to Real Estate Weekly about his access to Russia's rich and powerful. “I have a great relationship with many Russians, and almost all of the oligarchs were in the room,” Trump said, referring to Russians who made fortunes when former Soviet state enterprises were sold to private investors.

    8. I sort of get DinC's idea that all Conservatives should be executed before they do more damage, but in today's partisan environment, making this law is problematic.

  6. Maddow would seem to have The White House dead to rights on some of Flynn's very, very bad behavior. Dead to rights. I saw it on TV. She said it therefore, I believe it. Maddow has the White House dead to rights. Dead to rights - obviously and no one can prove me wrong.

    1. God Media Matters piece, reprinted on Salon, illustrating Maddow's vindication on the Tax Return Show. Suck on it fake Greg😄

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