« Sad accounting of 150-year prison term for child-porn possession after 3-year plea deal had been offered | Main | New Massachusetts bill provides sentence reductions for when "incarcerated individual has donated bone marrow or organ(s)" »

January 31, 2023

"Joe Biden Hasn’t Kept His Promise to Reduce the Prison Population"

The title of this post is the title of this new opinion piece in the Daily Beast authored by Nazgol Ghandnoosh and Bill Underwood.  Here are excerpts:

For thousands of people in federal prisons and their loved ones, the last session of Congress ended on a heartbreaking note.  Despite high hopes and bipartisan support for several sentencing bills, Congress failed to pass any meaningful reform during 2022.

That repeated failure — coupled with the Bureau of Prisons’ refusal to make adequate use of compassionate release, and President Joe Biden’s limited use of executive clemency — has translated into the federal prison population increasing for the past two years (after nearly a decade in decline), despite the president’s promise to cut it by half.

This year, Congress must do better.  It’s time to pass the EQUAL Act, the First Step Implementation Act, and the COVID-19 Safer Detention Act.

We know firsthand the profound need for sentencing reform.  One of us served 33 years of a life sentence in federal prison before receiving compassionate release.  The other is a sentencing researcher who has documented the growth and harms of lengthy prison sentences. We’ve lived and studied the dramatic rise in the federal prison population and we know the urgency of finding solutions.

Federal prisons imprisoned 25,000 people in 1980.  Today, they imprison more than six times that — nearly 160,000 people. (Fortunately, today’s count does represent a 27 percent reduction from 2013, when the population was at its peak of 219,000 people.)

The past decade of legislative reforms and policy changes, amplified during the early pandemic, have downsized federal prisons. But in the absence of new reforms by Congress and bold action by the administration, the federal prison population has grown again for the past two years.

January 31, 2023 at 06:58 PM | Permalink


God I love 'rats: https://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2023/01/electrify-everything-but-without-copper.php

Posted by: federalist | Jan 31, 2023 7:01:40 PM

Donald Trump reduced the federal prison population--one big jab at a time!

Posted by: federalist | Jan 31, 2023 7:02:37 PM

In fact, federalist, Prez Trump presided over historic federal decarceration, with BOP reported "Total Federal Inmates" dropping from 189,212 to 151,646 during his time in office. He truly ended up the decarceral Prez (including the 13 persons executed under his watch, though nationwide executions also hit modern record lows during his years in office).

Posted by: Doug B | Jan 31, 2023 9:15:25 PM

Well, at least Joe has done something right in between diaper change and pudding time.

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Jan 31, 2023 9:59:44 PM

Trump most definitely deserves credit for the lowering of the prison population during his time in office. That's one of the things he got right and the one thing that I he will constantly get credit from me for. There is no comparison between him and Biden in this regard.

Posted by: Eric A. Hicks | Jan 31, 2023 10:05:40 PM

I'm disappointed by Biden's failure to reduce the Federal inmate population. We need sentencing reform now that abolishes mandatory minimum sentences and makes 99% of offenses parole eligible. That should lower the inmate population to under 90,000.

Posted by: Anon | Feb 1, 2023 8:29:53 AM

Wait...what? I'm a little confused. Are the folks who have consistently championed a return to the good ol' days of getting tough on crime, (e.g., massive police presence targetting high crime rate areas; stop and frisk policies; stern, swift and certain punishments along with lengthy sentences and significant fines for wrongdoers (which invariably result in increases in prison populations), and specialized police units (e.g. Memphis P.D. Scorpions")..are they now praising former-Pres. Donald J. Trump? Hard to believe.

By reading the statistics, it seems that Pres. Trump has not been all that "tough on crime". Trump's glaring inactions and weak gun policies resulted in a damning rise in the crime rate, coupled with a yearly DECREASE in the federal prison population (total decrease of 50,161 from 2016 through 2020).

Conversely, Pres. Biden's policies have resulted in an INCREASE to the federal prison population over the past two years, reversing Pres. Trump's downward trends. (Under Biden, there has been a total increase of 3582 inmates from 2021 through the present..current inmate population of 159,144..an approximately 3% increase).

The inmate population at the end of the Trump regime had dwindled to just 155,562...a decrease of 63,736 from when he 1st took office (how sad is that?) Doesn't sound very "tough on crime" to me.

Pres. Biden should be CONGRATULATED and PRAISED for returning to this much needed "tough on crime" approach, and a return to the satisfingly warm and fuzzy feelings of those "good ol' days".

Bravo, Pres. Biden! Well done!!

Posted by: SG | Feb 1, 2023 9:03:24 AM

Your numbers are a bit off, SG: BOP reported "Total Federal Inmates" dropped from 189,212 (at end of Jan 2017) to 151,646 (on Jan 21, 2021) during Prez Trump's time in office. That's a decline of roughly 37,500 persons federal incarcerated. You are right to note that we also saw a historic increase in homicides and gun crimes in 2020, Prez Trump's last year in office.

The various impacts of the COVID pandemic are, in my view, a key explanatory element here. But the federal prison population had declined more than 12,000 in first few years of Prez Trump's time in office before the pandemic, whereas Prez Reagan, GHW Bush, Clinton, GW Bush and Obama all presided over increases in the federal prison population during their first few years in office. In that way, Prez Biden is more like his predecessors, while Prez Trump was a significant outlier as "the great decarcerator."

Posted by: Doug B | Feb 1, 2023 9:24:02 AM

My tongue was firmly in cheek. Trump's record on crime, in my opinion, wasn't great. Trump also dealt with a pandemic, which would have reduced prison population for any President.

Posted by: federalist | Feb 1, 2023 9:33:11 AM


"I'm disappointed by Biden's failure to reduce the Federal inmate population. We need sentencing reform now that abolishes mandatory minimum sentences and makes 99% of offenses parole eligible. That should lower the inmate population to under 90,000."

I join in you in my extreme disappointment in Biden insofar as it relates to prison reform. There are many young people who voted for him that have discussed their dissatisfaction with his reform agenda---or lack thereof. He has other accomplishments to tout but on this one he definitely is lagging.

Posted by: Eric A. Hicks | Feb 1, 2023 11:26:59 AM


What a guy.

Posted by: federalist | Feb 1, 2023 11:50:52 AM

The federal prison population had declined to 151,646 on the last day of the Trump administration. It immediately began to rise.

Trump lobbied for the First Step Act and that was instrumental in the decline. No doubt covid played a role but I have an additional theory. Trump had little reverence for the administrative state and there was a slight decline in personnel in the justice department, the fbi and dea because of attrition.

President Biden has granted 80 clemencies. This would be slightly significant except most all of them had already been released for federal facilities and were on home confinement.

This is an interesting chart related to the pardon attorney's office. In 2021 the budget for the pardon attorney's office was 5 million dollars and they had 20 positions. In 2022 the budget was 16 million and there were 80 employees. The proposed budget for 2023 is 22.5 million with 80 positions.

They must be getting substantial raises. Certainly with these remarkable increases we should see lots of clemency's granted

Here is the link to the budget.


Posted by: beth curtis | Feb 1, 2023 1:31:26 PM

The most obvious fact never gets mentioned: The best way to reduce the prison population is for criminals and prospective criminals to refrain from the behavior that can get you sent to prison.

Oh, wait, I forgot..................it's never the responsibility of the criminal, it's only the responsibility of office holders and the general public, including the criminal's victims.

Gosh, I must need to get my mind right.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Feb 1, 2023 3:11:02 PM

Yes Bill. You do. Why don't you check your privilege and become an ally of criminals who should be let go?

Posted by: federalist | Feb 1, 2023 3:44:57 PM

Bill has already admitted he is an ally (or really a fellow traveler) of those who cry "sexism" without any reasonable basis for doing so.

Posted by: Doug B | Feb 1, 2023 8:21:20 PM

Doug --

"Bill has already admitted he is an ally (or really a fellow traveler) of those who cry "sexism" without any reasonable basis for doing so."

What I actually said is that I will conform to the same standards for attributing positions that this blog affords and for years has afforded to all other commenters.

Hey Doug, I'm for equality!! What's wrong with that? Sauce for the goose and all that.

P.S. Still, as you conspicuously and correctly don't deny, I'm not an ally of the soft-and-softer crowd.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Feb 1, 2023 10:53:18 PM

federalist --

Speaking of my failure to get my mind right: Have you noticed that for child molesters and Jihadist bombers, the wail on the comments section of this blog is uniformly to provide them their full rights, to withhold judgment, to avoid our excessively punitive attitude, to remember that one bad moment is not the whole person, etc., etc. -- but that when it comes to the January 6 defendants, we don't hear a word of that.

Goodness gracious! It's enough to give hypocrisy a bad name.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Feb 1, 2023 11:00:49 PM

If lowering your own ethical standards of behavior is how you want to pursue "equality" in this space, Bill, I am not here to stop you. But get with the modern lingo: all the "cool kids" these days talk about "equity" not "equality." Got that 'boomer? ;-)

Posted by: Doug B | Feb 1, 2023 11:23:18 PM

Doug --

Talk about the pot calling the kettle black! One of the main specialists in mis-casting my position is your very own self. You've done it dozens of times. Usually it takes the form of, "What you're saying is....." or "What you seem to be saying is......" or "Your position suggests....." or, at least as often, some slickly re-worded paraphrase of what I said, one that creates just enough of a twist for you to launch whatever broadside you had in mind.

Again and again and again, I've asked that this stop. But it hasn't and it won't. So if there's a problem of lowered standards in this regard, I'm not its progenitor.

Of course you're not alone in this, not at all. Indeed it's epidemic. But from now on, my unilateral disarmament is over.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Feb 2, 2023 2:42:53 AM

Gosh Bill...sounds like you're kinda upset that you are so misunderstood. To smooth your feathers just a bit (hopefully), I would direct you to a quote from my favorite philosopher, Ralph Waldo Emerson:

“Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.” Essay - Self-Reliance

You are a great man, Bill, albeit misunderstood.

Posted by: SG | Feb 2, 2023 4:43:11 AM

Bill, I see a big difference between sincere efforts to understand and challenge the claims and implications of comments here, and throwing around baseless accusations of racism and sexism. Others may not see a big difference, or think this is all on a continuum within a coarsened public discourse, or otherwise cannot resist vitriol in the midst of seeing a claim or pronoun they find displeasing. But I will quote back to you the closing sentiment of one of your earliest comments on this blog (from 2007, I believe):

"My father, who wanted to be a lawyer but was too poor to afford law school -- but made enough to send me -- taught me that there is a word for saying things you don't believe. The word is 'dishonesty.' Bill"

Posted by: Doug B | Feb 2, 2023 9:29:12 AM

It is not a "baseless accusation" to label criticism that is made in stark racial terms, "racist."

Posted by: federalist | Feb 2, 2023 10:51:24 AM

I agree, 100%, federalist, that it is not a "baseless accusation" to label criticism that is made in stark racial terms, "racist." I was referencing Bill's claim that criticism of a judge's 150-year max sentence for a first offender was "anti-Hispanic" even though the criticism made no mention of the judge's background. Apologies for any confusion.

Posted by: Doug B. | Feb 2, 2023 11:04:08 AM

It’s not “vitriol,” Doug.

It’s an attempt to understand your mindset and the reasons behind the positions you take. Woke politics, whether forced down from above or you are a “true believer,” supplies a big piece of the puzzle behind your pro-criminal stances.

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Feb 2, 2023 11:07:54 AM

Over-reacting to my proper use of the "she" pronoun by calling it "woke BS" --- not to mention making claims about what that use of that pronoun says about The Ohio State University or having some weird fantasy of what you might think OSU "forces down" on tenured faculty --- seems to me a very good example of "bitterly harsh or caustic language or criticism." I certainly think it reveals a whole lot more about your mindset than mine. Specifically, I sense much bitterness in your over-reaction to a pronoun, which I thought the word "vitriol" captured well. But maybe that word is also in the Tarls' speech code of naughty leftist words even when used entirely properly.

Especially funny here is that this all started with my effort to figure out if your thinking about what is "deserved" in state punishment are as statist as your comment suggested. Perhaps your eagerness to judge my "mindset" by your speech code and your complaints about my failure to use your preferred pronouns should have alone been enough to cue me into your statist inclinations.

Posted by: Doug B | Feb 2, 2023 11:25:34 AM

Despite my best efforts, I have tried not to care that much about this post. My main point would be that supreme-outlier sentences can bring down the people's faith in the justice system.

Regarding OSU tenured faculty--you allowed to comment on the "I don't like white people" lawsuit in which OSU finds itself.

Posted by: federalist | Feb 2, 2023 1:29:43 PM

Sorry--got my threads confused--lol.

Regarding Joe not keeping his promises . . . . well,

Posted by: federalist | Feb 2, 2023 1:36:26 PM

SG --

"Gosh Bill...sounds like you're kinda upset that you are so misunderstood."

C'mon, SG, you're only pretending to be that stupid. Even you couldn't have missed the fact that the problem here is that I'm perfectly well understood, but then breezily misrepresented by people who prudently view themselves as unable to refute what I said if they quoted my words rather than mangled them.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Feb 2, 2023 2:08:22 PM

Doug --

I'm wildly flattered that you can track my words of wisdom back 16 years. That is quite the feat. And I'm even happier that you pass on my father's wise advice.

There were many things he told me relevant to how I live my life now. One of was "be honest," you bet. Another was, "when you're in a game, you play by the rules of that game whether you like them or not."

The rules of the game on SL&P, as I have seen to my regret for a long time, are that posters, including you, are free to mangle the positions of opposing posters, including me, to suit the purposes of their advocacy. Often you will do this by saying that you're "trying to be clear about" my position, which you "understand" to be __________, with the blank filled in, not by something I actually said, but by some version of you what you WISH I had said, that version inevitably consisting of some extreme or foolish extension or distortion that I went to pains to avoid.

I wish the rules of the game were different, and have complained about them often -- to no avail. So I'm left with this reality: They are what they are.

I wish it were different, but until that happens, if ever, I'll follow by father's advice -- "when you're in a game, you play by the rules of that game whether you like them or not." And I won't unilaterally disarm, either.

P.S. What this dust-up reminds me of are the rules of the game in entering pleas. The defendant's lawyer starts off by pleading "not guilty" to everything, even though he knows or strongly suspects that his client is guilty of most or all of it. That's because, under the rules of the game, no one takes the opening plea seriously. It's just the first move in bargaining with the prosecutor. What happens 95% of the time is that the defendant, down the bargaining road, pleads guilty to one of the counts (of which he was guilty all along, and knew it), and the others get tossed out.

So was the defense lawyer being dishonest in entering the initial plea of "not guilty" to everything? One could very plausibly take that view, you bet. But that's not how it tends to be viewed in the profession. It's viewed as acceptable license in a system defense lawyers didn't design but have to live with.

Like I say, it's not my preference, not at all. But I don't make the world.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Feb 2, 2023 2:42:20 PM

federalist, I can comment on anything I want to comment about. I was unaware of what you called "the 'I don't like white people' lawsuit" until you mentioned it, and I am sincerely not aware of any of the details. (Indeed, I forgot all of the specifics from when I googled this before and now I cannot find what you are talking about through googling.)

The lawsuits involving former OSU team doctor Richard Strauss get a lot of media attention, but I do make an on-going effort to keep up with or comment on the wide range of employment disputes and other lawsuits involving OSU (and I cannot even find out why our new University Prez resigned). I believe OSU is the fourth largest employer in Ohio and employs around 150,000 people (with nearly 50,000 faculty, depending on how you head-count).

And, of course, except when there are cries of racism or sexism in the comments to this blog, I general seek to stay in my professional lane as both a professor and a lawyer. But, as you know well, federalist, you are welcome to use this comment space as you wish.

Posted by: Doug B. | Feb 2, 2023 2:45:44 PM

I was kind of teasing you. I would note that in our debate about the "in office" morality of Trump vs. Obama it was tedious to get you to concede some obvious moral problems with Obama's conduct, and I attributed that to the faculty lounge.

As for in office morality, Trump's insistence in going after Soleimani versus killing innocent people in Iran counts very strongly in Trump's favor, as Obama's drone policy was, um, problematic.

Posted by: federalist | Feb 2, 2023 3:03:00 PM

I agree with former Judge Luttig's view that Prez Trump's repeated and knowing lies about the 2020 election amounted to an "immoral war on democracy." If one cares about American democracy, the "in office" morality debate of Trump vs. Obama is a no-brainer.

Posted by: Doug B | Feb 2, 2023 4:19:29 PM

Yeah, and how many other pols have cried that an election was stolen? It's only different when the Donald does it. But in Donald's case, the FBI and the intel community put their thumbs on the scale by suppressing the Hunter Biden story, and Joe Biden colluded with them.

Posted by: federalist | Feb 2, 2023 5:56:10 PM


I tried to be nice to you and even said that you are a 'great man'. ("You are a great man, Bill"). And for that you chastise me and call me stupid. Ok. I admit that I must be stupid for trying to be nice to you and equally as stupid for characterizing you as 'a great man'. My bad. It will never happen again.

Posted by: SG | Feb 2, 2023 6:00:21 PM


Your use of the “she” pronoun is only “proper” in the sense that your woke brethren have thrown enough elbows to make it mainstream in the last five minutes or so.

Do you disagree that throughout the history of the English language “he” has been the proper pronoun for someone of an unknown gender?

It’s the same with “Latino.” The word “Latinx” has also become “proper” after being forced down our throats. Latinos hate it as well to the rate of 97%, but some “Latina womyns studies gay queer transgender theory professor colleagues of yours thought they knew better than Latinos and centuries of the traditional Spanish language.

I just made the point that where you come from impacts your ideology. It’s a statement of fact, not anger.


Listen to Doug about the cool kids and the difference between “equality” and “equity.” You are a dinosaur and Doug lives in that world. I wonder how many TikTok dance videos he has done.

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Feb 2, 2023 6:03:11 PM

Though I am not a historian of language, Tarls, it took me about 30 seconds to google this interesting write up concerning debates over what you call "unknown gender" pronouns that dates back centuries. https://blogs.illinois.edu/view/25/705317

I especially like this sentence within: "In 1851, a very sober John Stuart Mill complained that the lack of a gender-neutral pronoun forced him to use generic he, which was 'more than a defect' in English because it rendered half the human species invisible." I am quite proud on occasion to write in ways that honor the thinking of JS Mill rather than conforming to the preferred pronouns in the Tarls speech code. (Maybe now you can complain, Tarls, about "woke JS" as well as "woke BS.")

Also, if you would like to understand the history of what you want to complain about, here is a National Geographic article highlighting that "Latino" is quite a new word in common used, coming into vogue after Hispanic, Hispano, Chacino and others: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/history/article/hispanic-latino-heres-where-terms-come-from. Language is always evolving, but apparently only some parts of that evolution has your blessing. Feel free to set forth more of the particulars of the Tarls speech code if you so like. Do you have a strong take on whether and when "White" should be capitalized? Can you tell me the secret anti-woke code for deciding whether to use one space or two spaces after a period? Is there a special en-dash/em-dash convention used over at Truth Social that we should all know about?

Put simply, your over-reaction to the "she" pronoun really says a lot more about "where you come from." That said, I do agree 100% that "where you come from impacts your ideology." Of course, that is exactly the point that anon was making when highlighting where Bill comes from in another thread. That led to a cry of "racist" and a call for censorship from federalist. (And, notably, readers here cannot actually know where Tarls and federalist "come from" because you hide behind pen names. But we do know you must share Bill's "ideology" since he always eagerly gives you, and only you, a pass on fake-name commentary.)

Posted by: Doug B | Feb 2, 2023 7:23:09 PM


I’m sure you can tell the difference between one person in 1850 complaining about the traditional usage and changing the usage. Your quote merely proves my point, because, guess what? Mill still used “he.” So, if you want to honor Mill, you would honor his humility in knowing that he doesn’t get to change the language unilaterally even if he is not thrilled with it.

I suspect you can also tell the difference between a true “evolution of language” and having it suddenly thrust down the throats of all society for political reasons and if you rebel against it, you are deemed a “misogynist.”

This might seem a small issue, but it is the canary in the coal mine. As we speak, Orwell’s “1984” is being rewritten from a “female’s perspective.” In other words, a prophetic book about propaganda and rewriting history is being rewritten as a piece of propaganda that rewrites history. I trust you can see the irony and the straight line from the comparatively innocuous “she” to the book.

Again, it’s not my fault that I noticed your face tattoo.

As far as my name, Bill and I discussed that at least a decade ago. We disagree. So what? You want mine? I’d be happy to give it to you. You are on the bandwagon but I know you are not pushing it.

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Feb 2, 2023 10:35:13 PM

Tarls, I am not whining that you must be part of some anti-woke BS because you want to keep using the pronoun "he," nor have I called you a “misogynist” for doing so. You are the one whining about "woke BS" because I used the pronoun "she." In other words, I readily tolerate your preferred pronouns whereas you want to "thrust down" the intolerant Tarls speech code on me. Your speech code hypocrisy would make Orwell blush.

That why this episode says so much more about your mindset than mine. You are not the canary in the coal mine, you are Chicken Little screaming that the sky is falling when someone simply uses a pronoun that frightens you. John Stuart Mill is one of my heroes, not just because of his libertarian philosophy, but also because he bravely championed equal suffrage for women well before that was fashionable. I suspect he encountered plenty of frightened Chicken Littles in his time who were quite scared of such "woke BS."

And given what you ultimately reveal about your mindset with your over-reaction to the "she" pronoun, I fully understand why you might want to keep your identity hidden here. That's your choice, and one I readily respect because tolerance for all sorts of personal choices is a virtue, not a vice, in my view.

P.S. This discussion continues to be much more fun for me than the true oppression of the academy: I am avoiding polishing citations for a book chapter I have drafted.

Posted by: Doug B | Feb 2, 2023 11:24:09 PM

Who the hell said you called me a misogynist? Debate me, Doug, not your straw men.

I’m not pushing the pronoun “he” any more than I am pushing the pronoun “she” when referring to a woman.

I am pushing for a language and usage that has been in place for centuries not being changed for political reasons. There was no evolution. It was changed on threat of misogyny by a small minority of society. THAT is what I’m pushing against.

Really? You compare equal rights for women with a pronoun? A civil right with saying “fireperson?” You might want to rethink that.

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Feb 3, 2023 5:30:06 PM

Do men in Germany get po'd because every plural is preceded by "die" which is also the feminine noun definite article.

Posted by: federalist | Feb 3, 2023 6:45:42 PM

Doug --

Slight correction. In your response to TarlsQtr, you say (emphasis added), "And, notably, readers here cannot actually know where Tarls and federalist "come from" because you hide behind pen names. But we do know you must share Bill's "ideology" since he always eagerly gives you, AND ONLY YOU, a pass on fake-name commentary."

Actually, I give a also give a "pass" to federalist and tmm. As to federalist, he gets a pass because I already know who he is (he's a friend) and he engages in reasoned argument rather than spitting. tmm gets a pass because he never, ever goes ad hominem, is scrupulously fair-minded, and has a world of valuable experience that he shares with us.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Feb 3, 2023 7:53:44 PM

Tarls, you seemed to be complaining about uses of language being, in your words, "suddenly thrust down the throats of all society for political reasons and if you rebel against it, you are deemed a 'misogynist'.” I was thus eager to clarify and stress that I am not seeking to thrust any language down your throat, nor calling you a "misogynist" for failing to use certain language.

That said, I am quite comfortable with having the English language evolve to be more inclusive. Saying "Chair" instead of "Chairman" or saying "Police Officer" instead of "Policeman" or saying "Firefighter" instead of "Fireman" does not frighten or bother me, especially because it serves as a more accurate way to describe the genders of persons who serve in these roles. My sense is that a majority of English-speaking society --- roughly 50.5% of the US population is female --- are likewise inclined to favor more inclusive rather than excluding language.

But, whatever the majority of society prefers, you are entirely welcome to use here whatever language suits you. Though I may question or challenge the substance of your comments, I will not whine about the pronouns you use nor foolishly assert that it reflects anything about your employer. And I won't keep noting your frightened Chicken Little response to the pronoun "she" unless you keep having hissy fits about "comparatively innocuous" word choices.

Posted by: Doug B | Feb 3, 2023 8:21:18 PM

Fair correction, Bill. It seems you do make a content-based distinction: if you like what's being said in a comment, you do not assail the comment-maker for being "in the shadows." But when you do not like what is being said, you then lament comments by "people too cowardly to say who they are." Thanks for the correction.

Posted by: Doug B. | Feb 3, 2023 8:31:32 PM


Enough straw men. I never said you were pushing it down our throats or making claims of misogyny. If you actually read my words instead of what you wish I had said, you’d know that I said you were “on the bandwagon, not pushing it.”

The same people said that Hispanics were “inclined” to support LatinX. They hate it. I had never heard a woman without a “Womyns Studies Intersectional LGBTQWERTY&$#” degree complain about “fireman” until five minutes ago. I don’t even really care about that, as it doesn’t change the fundamental meaning and grammar of the language. Calling an individual person “they” or “xi” is vandalism. I have never heard a huge outcry for 1984 in a “womyn’s perspective” either, but here we are because of a few.

As an aside, you should watch the early 1990’s film, “PCU.” It has Jeremy Piven, David Spade, and Jon Favreau in it. A silly (even stupid) college party movie, but an absolute prophesy of today. Meant to be a satire, it could be watched as a documentary now. It also has George Clinton and the P Funk, alone making it worth a watch.

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Feb 3, 2023 8:51:28 PM

Tarls, "straw men"? You kick all this off by complaining about my use of the pronoun "she," and now you are moaning:

--- about people who "said that Hispanics were 'inclined' to support LatinX."
--- about those with "a Womyns Studies Intersectional LGBTQWERTY&$#” degree"
--- about "calling an individual person 'they' or 'xi'"

You clearly are angry at, or frustrated by, lots of other things that other people say and so. Fine, but don't let your anti-woke aggravation prompt you to whine about my failure to follow your speech code. I promise not to complain to you about what MTG or Tucker Carlson (or Bill or federalist) say or does. In other words, my "comparatively innocuous" use of the pronoun "she" does not present a valid excuse for you to vent your disconcert about "woke BS" and everything the goofy lefty kids do or say.

(Key point: you profoundly undermine lots of legitimate complaints about what the goofy lefty kids do or say when you have a hissy fit over the use of the pronoun "she" or over reasonable efforts to use more inclusive and more accurate terminology.)

And I adore PCU!! In a similar vein from a similar time, John Singleton's "Higher Learning" holds up pretty well (though has some cartoonish elements). The cast is stellar including Omar Epps, Kristy Swanson, Michael Rapaport, Jennifer Connelly, Ice Cube, Tyra Banks, Laurence Fishburne and Regina King. (I will be quick to note that I like the "shes" in this cast even more than the "hes.")

And, here are some earlier era college comedy flicks that should not be missed:

"Real Genius"
"Revenge of the Nerds"
"Back to School"

I suspect we could both end up cancelled if anyone catches us laughing too hard at the funniest parts of some of these movies. And if you really want to get in trouble with the PC-crowd, be sure to check out "Soul Man."

Posted by: Doug B. | Feb 3, 2023 9:27:26 PM

I’m not sure what any of that has to do with you saying I was accusing you of shoving down it our throats or accusing people of misogyny. I never said either. Those are straw men.

Everyone you quote, including the use of “she” for unknown individuals, is the result of people forcing an ideology through changing the language.

You refer to Mill, so I’ll refer to Orwell, who believed the decay of language and the decay of society were inseparable.

The only ones on your list I have not seen are “Real Genius” and “Higher Learning.” I’ll check them out.

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Feb 3, 2023 10:08:03 PM

I’m not sure what any of that has to do with you saying I was accusing you of shoving down it down our throats or accusing people of misogyny. I never said either. Those are straw men.

Everyone you quote, including the use of “she” for unknown individuals, is the result of people forcing an ideology through changing the language.

You refer to Mill, so I’ll refer to Orwell, who believed the decay of society was inseparable from the decay of language.

I’ve seen all of those movies except “Higher Learning,” and “Real Genius.” I’ll check them out.

One of my favorite scenes ever is Sam Kinison in “Back to School.”

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Feb 3, 2023 10:14:53 PM

Prioritize "Real Genius," Tarls, as that is arguably the best college movie of the 1980s (with a young Val Kilmer at his finest). "Higher Learning" may be a bit woke for your tastes.

And, on your Orwell point, I do not see sometimes using more inclusive language to be a form of "decay," nor do fear that a more inclusive society is at risk of "decay." But I realize that it does represent a kind of change that not everyone finds comforting. But, since I am not a big fan of trigger warnings, I will have to just hope your discomfort does not keep you from continuing to engage in the comments.

Posted by: Doug B | Feb 3, 2023 10:24:09 PM

Doug --

It's all true: When the commenter is high class and engages in reasoned and legally informed debate, like federalist, TarlsQtr and tmm, that commenter is going to get treated differently and better by me than the various dishonest and juvenile guttersnipes who appear here.

If you want to make excuses for the latter group, and indulge the cowardice they use to avoid taking responsibility for the nonsense they put up here, that's your choice. I will make a different choice.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Feb 4, 2023 12:22:27 AM

Bill, I am not making excuses for anyone, you are. I let all folks decide how they want to identify themselves regardless of what I think about their comments. But you call only some of those folks "cowardly" because you are content to allow the people who say things you like "to avoid taking responsibility" for their comments.

It is fine if you want to apply a double standard at your substack, but I do think it a little impolite here. It would be like going to someone else's house who does not ask any guests to take off their shoes inside and yelling only at people not wearing your brand of shoes for not taking off their shoes.

Posted by: Doug B | Feb 4, 2023 6:27:14 AM

Doug --

Double standard my foot. Whether someone is cowardly for posting anonymously depends mainly on the character those postings display, specifically whether it's the sort of thing a person wouldn't want to claim. When the postings reflect an informed, law-centered dialogue, as is true of federalist, TarslQtr and tmm, that's one thing. When they're spitting and personal slights, that's something else.

My standard remains the same. It's the character and quality of the posters that varies.

Still: I applaud your policy of letting everyone have his say. This is not mainly because I'm anyone's version of a big civil libertarian. It's because the Lefties out themselves with their own nastiness and extremism better than I ever could by trying to describe it.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Feb 4, 2023 2:20:53 PM

I think I can reasonably assert, Bill, that Tars and federalism (and you and me and many others who comment) do not always keep their postings to what I would call an "informed, law-centered dialogue." In fact, that is part of the fun. Which is why my simple standard is keep it legal --- and ideally civil, even if sharp --- and it can stay. And, as you saw recently, that can include suggestions from anyone who wants to urge me to delete a comment.

Because it seems you share my basic view that ignorant or intemperate comments say more about the person making the comment, Bill, I sense I will not be getting censor requests from you.

Posted by: Doug B | Feb 4, 2023 8:31:51 PM

Ah, civility. So the "wise [sic] Latina" gets to link the quality of judging to ethnicity, and we're supposed to be "civil."

Posted by: federalist | Feb 6, 2023 3:18:04 PM

Post a comment

In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB