Saxman: 21 Retirements, 363 Years of Combined Service, and the Really Big Challenge of Our Time

Virginia FREE Fridays at 3pm – General Assembly retirements, nominations updates, and the latest national polling on POTUS 2024. Zoom Zoom!

Basically, MARCH MADNESS 2023!!!


General Assembly Retirement Tracker with estimated years of service.

Retirements thus far – 7 Senators and 14 Delegates. Combined years of service? 363. I’m putting the Over/Under at 30 members of the General Assembly and 480 years of service that will not return next year.

So far, those not returning:

Senator Dick Saslaw – 48

Senator Janet Howell – 32

Senator Tommy Norment – 32

Senator John Edwards – 28

Senator Jennifer McClellan – 18 (Congress start date March 7)

Senator Jill Vogel – 16

Senator John Bell – 8


Delegate Ken Plum – 44

Delegate Kathy Byron – 26

Delegate Rob Bell – 22

Delegate James Edmunds – 14

Delegate Margaret Ransone – 14

Delegate Roxann Robinson – 13

Delegate Kathleen Murphy – 9

Delegate Mike Mullin  – 8

Delegate Jeff Bourne – 7

Delegate Dawn Adams – 6

Delegate Kelly Convirs-Fowler – 6

Delegate Wendy Gooditis – 6

Delegate John Avoli – 4

Delegate Tim Anderson – 2

Not included in this list are the nomination battles between sitting incumbents or the incumbents who face challenges in their new districts. Sixteen incumbents face off which will add another eight to the list of non-returners and there are five House members plus eleven Senators facing nomination battles. Possibly 24 could be added to the current 21.

So. Far.

Speaking of democracy…

Read a very interesting but largely negative book review from Monday’s WSJ – When Ancients Serve Ideologues. The book – Plato Goes to China – The Greek Classics and Chinese Nationalism – will NOT be coming soon to the Hallmark Channel.

Midway down the review, I was struck by these:

All [Leo] Strauss did, as a German-Jewish émigré who came of age during World War I and the Weimar Republic, was agree with Plato that democracy is the most dangerous form of government, because its lack of grounding in an objective moral order makes it vulnerable to the passions of the mob—resulting, inevitably, in tyranny.

Plato’s larger point is that, while an objective moral order can be discerned through philosophy, it cannot serve as the basis of a political regime unless the ruler is a philosopher—and no true philosopher wants to rule. Plato’s solution was to ground the political order in a “noble lie,” meaning a set of beliefs, preferably religious, that can encourage virtue in the citizens while protecting the philosophers’ freedom to ask radical, potentially disruptive questions.

“Lack of grounding in an objective moral order…”


Then I recalled, yes for third week in a row, Arthur Brooks’ NYT column on motive attribution asymmetry which shows how Democrats and Republicans view each other on the same psychological plane as Israelis and Palestinians view each other.

Uh oh.

Then I recalled the MUST READ joint op-ed by Henry Kissinger, Eric Schmidt, and Daniel Huttenlocher, also in the WSJ – ChatGPT Heralds an Intellectual Revolution Generative artificial intelligence presents a philosophical and practical challenge on a scale not experienced since the start of the Enlightenment. MUST READ.

Here are some key sentences from Kissinger and the Google Guy:

Generative artificial intelligence presents a philosophical and practical challenge on a scale not experienced since the beginning of the Enlightenment.

Generative AI will similarly open revolutionary avenues for human reason and new horizons for consolidated knowledge.

Yet at the same time AI, when coupled with human reason, stands to be a more powerful means of discovery than human reason alone.

The essential difference between the Age of Enlightenment and the Age of AI is thus not technological but cognitive.

Leadership is likely to concentrate in hands of the fewer people and institutions who control access to the limited number of machines capable of high-quality synthesis of reality.

Without proper moral and intellectual underpinnings, machines used in governance could control rather than amplify our humanity and trap us forever.

Humans will have to learn new restraint.

Seriously. They actually wrote that we, as a species, “will have to learn new restraint.” And this:

Strong cultural norms, rather than legal enforcement, will be necessary to contain our societal reliance on machines as arbiters of reality.

Sure …. strong cultural norms….why panic?

And this…

Fundamentally, our educational and professional systems must preserve a vision of humans as moral, psychological and strategic creatures uniquely capable of rendering holistic judgments.

Ya ever wonder what planet some people live on?

They conclude:

For now, we have a novel and spectacular achievement that stands as a glory to the human mind as AI. We have not yet evolved a destination for it. As we become Homo technicus, we hold an imperative to define the purpose of our species. It is up to us to provide the real answers.

No objective moral order + motive attribution asymmetry + generative artificial intelligence.

From Airplane: “Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit drinking.”

All kidding and drinking aside (thanks Lent), this is, in my humble opinion, the new challenge of our time.

Time for three other wise men to opine here:

Ray Stantz:
You know, it’s just occurred to me. We really haven’t had a successful test of this equipment.

Egon Spengler:
I blame myself.

Peter Venkman:
So do I.

Ray Stantz:
Well, no sense in worrying about it now.

Peter Venkman:
Why worry? Each one of us is wearing an unlicensed nuclear accelerator on his back.

Ray Stantz:
Yep. Well, let’s get ready. Switch me on.

We’ve got this!

As my 7th grade P.E. teacher, Hunter Talbot (Coach T) would say …

… can’t is UnAmerican.


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Did I mention that this week I also started reading The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William Shirer?

Maybe the Hallmark Channel ain’t so bad after all…

Nah. Just kidding. It’s putrid.

Baseball, however, will save us.

Of that I am convinced.

Maybe I’m just longing for my own Field of Dreams but this one stands out:

Mann: The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball.

America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It’s been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and erased again. But baseball has marked the time.

This field, this game — it’s a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good, and it could be again.

Ohhhhhhhh, people will come, Ray. People will most definitely come.

We have faced down many challenges over our shared history.

Hopefully, we will again.

To kick off some happy thoughts, I included some other Rays – Ray Charles, Stevie Ray Vaughan (live at Montreux), and Madonna’s Ray of Light.


No sooner had our family started dreaming/really discussing plans to build a multigenerational, multifamily (10 adult/five couple) house, this article comes out from Axios on that very subject.

With very few available homes that are affordable and don’t have to be gutted:

… many families are pooling their resources to buy homes that they otherwise might not have been able to afford.

We have two married adult children with college degrees who are married with spouses who are fully employed and they can’t find housing.

So … we are improvising. Stay tuned.

Maybe this is my own ray of light and field of dreams.

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