Thursday, January 28, 2016

Northern Exposure - not for us


We’re trying to figure out where we want to live, in retirement.  Where we are now, Richardson, Texas, is pretty good.  Everything is convenient, we know where to go for whatever we need, and we have friends in the area.  There are just two problems:  July and August.  It gets incredibly hot here during those two months, and June and September can be pretty bad as well.  So we are looking at alternatives.

The first thing we did was to look at a book called America’s 100 Best Places to Retire, by Mary Lu Abbott.  Each of us devised a list of places we were interesting in checking out.  Typically, the lists were not the same, except for one place: Port Townsend, Washington. 

Port Townsend is at the tip of a peninsula sticking into the Strait of Juan de Fuca, which separates Washington from British Columbia.  The town is described in the book as in the rain shadow of the Olympic range, and receives less rainfall than other parts of Washington.  The rain clouds have to dump their contents to clear the mountains, leaving Port Townsend with minimal annual rainfall.  But it doesn’t get hot there, which is something we are looking for.  We decided to check it out.  And we decided to do something smart – check it out during the worst time of year rather than the best, figuring that if we liked Port Townsend in January, we would like it any time.

Our itinerary included spending a couple of days north of Seattle, for a tour reunion put on by Rick Steves’ Europe (https://www.ricksteves.com) for people who took a tour with them during 2015.  There is also a day-long event called ‘Test Drive a Tour Guide’, which was really just them selling their tours.  We did meet the young woman who led our “Best of the Adriatic” tour and a couple who were on our tour, and that was nice.  We stayed in Lynnwood, near Edmonds, for three nights.  (My review of the hotel in Lynnwood is here). Then we caught the Edmonds to Kingston ferry and started on our way to Port Townsend.

The ferry was not rough, but the day was very, very dark.  This was at noon.




After arriving in Port Townsend, we had to wait a while for our room to be ready at Manresa Castle (review found here) and we wandered around the downtown area for a while.  Port Townsend has a lot of Victorian buildings, very well kept, and lots of nice eateries and shopping.  It may be in danger of becoming one of those tourist towns with nothing but t-shirt shops and art galleries, but it isn’t there yet.

We found a place to eat lunch called Jordini’s on the Water, part of kind of a shopping arcade on Water Street (the main street).  No customers were there except us, and in fact the whole town seemed pretty deserted.  I think everyone was watching the Seattle Seahawks playing the Carolina Panthers in the NFL playoffs.  When I had last checked the score, it was 31-0 in favor of the Panthers, but when we got to Jordini’s the game was on their giant flat-screen TV and the Seahawks had clawed their way back into the game.  The menu looked very good, and I chose a half portion of the Italian Stallion sub sandwich.  The half portion was six inches long and almost equally thick, and was excellent.  Unfortunately, that seemed to set the pattern – every meal we had in Port Townsend (not counting breakfast at the Castle) was very good, and portions were probably too generous.  While we ate, the game ended with the Seahawks trailing. 

Half a sandwich at Jordini’s

While waiting for our room to be ready, we stopped off at the Tourist Information office and spoke for a while with a gentleman who had retired to Port Townsend from Texas, specifically Austin.  We asked about how people get to Seattle and to the airport, where to shop, etc.  He made a point of saying how not hot it is there, since we were interested in less hot summers.  He also said it often rains on the fourth of July.

Our room at Manresa was ready at 4 PM, and they gave us a $25 coupon for something off dinner at a restaurant in town, since their restaurant was not open on Sunday (or any other day we were there). We took advantage of the coupon and ate at The Belmont, on Water Street, which would be considered ‘fine dining’ I suppose.  The crab stuffed halibut was pretty good.

The next day (Monday) I contacted a realtor who I had been emailing back and forth with about looking for a house in Port Townsend.  Her name is Anne McLaughlin, and she was perfect for us.  She showed us neighborhoods, explained about the lifestyle in Port Townsend, and showed us a couple of homes for sale that were not occupied.  The deal in Port Townsend is whether or not you have a view.  If you have a nice view, add $100,000 to the price.  We found the homes were smaller than in Texas, and a lot of them have septic tanks and heat with propane.  The peninsula (meaning the Olympic Peninsula, not just the Quimper Peninsula where Port Townsend is located) does not have a natural gas pipeline, so everyone heats with electric or propane or probably even wood stoves.  We saw a lot of the Cape George area, which is popular with retirees.  We would prefer a one-level house, and there are not a lot of them, but there are some.  I would guess that the price per square foot is 50% higher than in Richardson, TX, but the lifestyle is simpler and people aren’t so overboard with large houses. 

While meeting with Anne, we overheard her making a lunch date with someone at a place called Silverwater Café, so based on that recommendation, we went there for lunch.  It was the only place in Port Townsend that we went to twice, so that’s also a recommendation.  The food there was very, very good although the service was a little spaced out.  Marijuana is legal in Washington, which probably had nothing to do with it.

That evening we decided to try a place near Silverwater, called Alchemy Bistro.  I think this restaurant may have two sections, one less expensive and once fancier, but I am not sure. We ate in what was certainly fine dining, and we even had live music, a competent piano player.  I had a cod dish that was just okay.  Service was excellent.  Towards the end of our stay, an old man went up to the piano player and dropped some money in the tip jar, and spoke with him a moment.  The man looked familiar, and after a moment I realized he was one of the actors on a TV show from the 90’s called “Northern Exposure”.  The actor is named John Cullum, and he was playing an old man then.  He’s older now, but moving well.  “Northern Exposure” opened with a moose walking down the street, and the whole attitude of the show seemed to be replicated in Port Townsend.  We didn’t see any moose, but I saw more deer in one afternoon than I had seen before in my whole life.  And one big one was strolling along Lawrence Street, the main drag of Uptown Port Townsend, just minding his own business.

On Tuesday we decided to drive over to a town called Sequim, pronounced ‘skwim’, which is supposed to have what they call the ‘blue hole’, a hole in the cloud cover produced by peaks in the Olympic range.  Sequim is a bigger deal than Port Townsend, having the only Costco around, a Home Depot, lots of shopping.  It is home to a lot of retirees from California, seeking the sun but a cooler climate.  Anne, our real estate lady, seemed a little contemptuous of Sequim, saying they built houses there that resembled the houses they left behind in Southern California.  We saw some exceptionally tacky houses near the main road, but used our Zillow app to find some farther afield, and ended up in a large development called Sunland, where some nice new houses can be found.  We got a realtor to show us one, and it was very impressive, although attached on one side.  It was not a ‘duplex’ per se but pretty upscale.  Sunland is close to being built out, and seemed very nice, but the properties do not have much in the way of a view.  A golf course winds through the development.  Lots of deer hanging around.

We had a good lunch in Sequim in a place called Hiway 101 Diner, which was straight out of the Fifties.  Nice food.


That evening, back in Port Townsend, we had dinner at a Northern-Exposure type place called Owl Sprit Café (note – not Owl Spirit).  This was a pretty laid-back, inexpensive place that had an extensive lunch menu and a less extensive dinner menu, but the lunch menu went until 8 PM.  So I went with some sliders (below) from the lunch menu (I love sliders) while my wife chose some vegetable linguini (vegetarian).  We were both happy with our choices.

Sliders


Our final day in Port Townsend we spent looking back at some of the properties we had seen with Anne, and in walking around Fort Worden State Park, looking at some of the old officer’s quarters that you can actually rent out, although probably not in January.  While there, we saw a bald eagle, but could not get a decent photo. The day was incredibly cold and dreary, and in fact I don’t think the thermometer reached 50F the whole time we were there.  We ate lunch again at Silverwater, and for dinner chose a place called Fountain Café, where I had something called Scotch Fettucine, meaning with smoked salmon.  So-so. Jody had a risotto dish large enough to feed a squad of vegetarian Marines, if any could be found.

When Thursday came around and it was time to go home, we were ready.  But we had a hundred mile drive to Sea-Tac, and endured a couple of hours of really heavy rain during the drive.  At times it was nearly impossible to see.  The speed limit was just a dream. I think during the drive it finalized our determination that we could not live in a place like this, no matter how nice it is in the summer time.  The difficulty of getting around was too much, and it was too remote and too much of a culture shock.  So our search for a place to live in retirement will continue.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Jim Wins at Golf


Warning:  this story has almost nothing to do with golf.

My wife and I exchange gifts on our anniversary.   After three decades, it is sometimes difficult to come up with something original, so I appreciate a suggestion.   This year’s suggestion was surprising, a household item, the Vitamix 5200 Blender Super Package.  Okay then, ordered it from Costco On-Line. 

The package arrived late on a Friday night.  I picked it up (it was quite heavy) and stuck it in the closet in our office.  I shut the door and promptly forgot about it.  I had also ordered something from my wife’s Amazon wish list, and today I decided to ‘hide’ it where I hide stuff, which is in the closet in our office.  It’s not a good hiding place, but it’s not like this is a surprise anyway.

When I went to open the door, which opens inward, I couldn’t.  There is one of those plastic gadgets you can use to child-proof a closet (in our case the child is a 22 pound Maine Coon) and I depressed that.  Still couldn’t open the door.  I removed the device entirely.  Still couldn’t open the door.

Somehow, the box for the blender package was blocking the door, and I could not move it by pushing on the door.  I must have, in my haste, put it too close to the door, or placed it somewhere precarious, and something shifted.  We’ve been having earthquakes in Texas, but they are not the kind that move objects.  This was a problem.  The closet contains, among other things, our security system control panel, all of my photography equipment, all the software that we have in permanent physical form (as opposed to downloads), a useless manual typewriter, and some irreplaceable old documents, and everyday work items such as secure envelopes, printer cartridges, paper for the printer, etc. And a whole bunch of cat toys, which is why the Maine Coon wants in there.  There was no way to open that door other than cutting through the wall, or cutting through from the ceiling, or getting my friend Andy, who used to play offensive line for the Cowboys, and later the Bears, come over and smash it.

So, I tried to think, could I somehow move that thing.  I wasn’t really sure what was blocking the door (later found it was the blender package) and I really couldn’t budge it at all.  I first tried (talk about stupid) using my iPad.  This worked in that it fit under the door, and I moved the box slightly, and could open the door just a tiny amount, maybe a sixteenth of an inch.  But using an iPad as a sledgehammer is not really all that great an idea.  I tried a letter opener, a sturdy metal one, and at least by stabbing the box with it I released some of my frustration.  I tried lying on my back and pushing against the door with my feet, figuring my legs are the biggest muscles in my body.  I could have broken the door doing that, but not open it.

My next idea was one of the things my father always used to find things or sometimes to fix things.  He would use a golf club.  If something falls behind a refrigerator, for example, there’s nothing better than a blade putter to drag it out.  Can’t use one of those bloated boxy things you see some of the pros use.  I went out to the garage to get a putter, and found two of them in my bag.  The last time I played golf was in Hawaii, on Maui, for my 55th birthday, and I brought a few extra things so my Dad could play without having to bring his clubs, and among them was an extra putter.  Both were blade style putters.

I was able to get the putter under the door, and pushing as hard as I could, I could move the box maybe another sixteenth of an inch.  I had sweat pouring down so badly I had to towel off constantly.  We keep our house at 78F during the day, which is okay for sedentary tasks, but for this involuntary full-body workout it was too damned hot.

I kept thinking I needed some leverage, some way to shove the box from left to right to get it away from the door’s edge.  I tried both putters.  I bent a clothes hanger and tried to use it to catch the end of the box, but the space available was so small it was impossible.  Plus, the package was 20 pounds, although I didn't really know what was blocking the door. 

My wife came home from running errands and she was impressed with the predicament I was in.  She ran out to the garage and came back with a large crowbar, with which I definitely could have destroyed the door, even without Andy, but would not fit under it.  Then I thought, what about my old sabers from Xavier High School.  Do we even have them?  Well, we do, but I don’t think we will for long.  They have not done well since I last used them in 1966.  I could do nothing with them.

At this point I could push the door open a bit at the top, and got a flashlight to see what the hell was going on.  I saw the box, and behind it another box containing some old electronics, and behind that the blasted old manual typewriter.  After seeing this, I felt like it was hopeless, and decided to do something else for a while.  So we ran some errands (notably we were running out of Scotch, which I could see being a problem soon) and I took a nap.

I came back to it to try a couple of additional things.  I thought I might be able to drag the box over to the right using our hedge trimmer.  Not plugged in.  It’s fairly heavy, it has lots of teeth to grab on to things, and it would fit under the door.  Well, no luck.  I tried a couple of different loppers (branch cutters) thinking they might grab on to the box.  No luck. 

Then I started thinking, I might try to reach past the box and move what was behind it.  I could feel, using the putter, where the back end of the box was, and then push against what was there.  After doing that a few times as hard as I could, it moved a tiny amount.  But the putter was too short.  I needed one of those long putters like Adam Scott uses, the ones that are about to be banned by the USGA and R&A.  Instead I went back to the garage and got a three iron. 

The three iron would just barely fit under the door, and could reach whatever was back there, and I could shove it around, but I couldn’t open the door.

In desperation, to avoid using explosives on my closet, which would be a violation in Richardson TX, I decided to try pushing on the other side of the box.  I had been pushing on the left side (as I looked at it) and now fumbled around with the putter and pushed on the right side.  I felt like it was not resisting as much.  I pushed again, as hard as I could (which wasn’t hard because I was by now pretty damn tired) and it seemed to be moving.  I got to my feet and tried the door one more time, with a mighty shove.

It opened.

I let go of a pretty loud scream.  My wife asked if I had hurt myself.  I replied that the door was open.  Brute force always wins.

I gave her the present early.  I’ll let her deal with where to store it.


It was my best golf day in years.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Update - life as a rail commuter


From approximately December 2014 to the end of May 2015 I rode Dallas Area Rapid Transit (http://dart.org ) light rail to work.  I had documented my initial reactions in an earlier post.  Link here.

I rode the train three or four days a week.  My client’s office was pretty much deserted on Monday and Friday, and there was often no one to talk to and no real point to going in.  If the weather happened to be horrible, I always had the option of working from home, since most of the team I was on were based in other cities.  So my experience is not the same as that of someone who needed to take the train every day no matter what.

The trains run pretty much on time, but there is a tendency for what they call, in the airline business, “irregular operations”.  I ran into this a few times:

  • ·      A woman had her face slashed at the Pearl Street station, which is my station.  There is only one pair of tracks through downtown Dallas, and the light rail system was effectively interrupted for half a day while they investigated the crime.  This displaced approximately 30,000 people.  As far as I know, they didn’t catch the perpetrator, despite having him on video.  They used buses to move people from the last available station to downtown.
  • ·      There was an electrical problem at Pearl Street where a train somehow snarled the overhead power lines, dragging them down to the ground.  This put the trains out of service for a while.  But I got a nice tour of Old East Dallas on the bus.
  • ·      During the torrential rains we had in North Texas this spring (2015), electrical problems put half the tracks out of service near downtown for a while.


Also, during the multitude of ice storms we had this winter, rail service was often interrupted.  When ice forms on the power lines, the trains can get no power and everything stops.  I wasn’t affected because I chickened out when it was icy and worked from home.

I learned that I wasn’t using our health club when I parked at the Bush Turnpike station.  This station has a couple of major advantages – 1) it is five minutes from the house, and 2) you can park more or less under cover, since the parking is below the elevated turnpike.  But it’s nowhere near the health club.  So I started parking at the LBJ/Central station, which is really convenient to Texas Instruments.  The health club is at TI.  Using this station had one other minor advantage in that the Orange Line goes all the way up to Plano only at peak periods, otherwise terminating at LBJ/Central.  So if I snuck out of work early, I could still get to where my car was parked.  (We have two lines, Orange and Red. Red always goes all the way north.)

To my credit, I never blew off my exercise, if the car was parked at LBJ/Central. 

The key to making the whole thing work, for me, was the DART Go-Pass app.  It is a free download. You can purchase your daily or monthly ticket using the app, and show the pass to the fare inspector when required using the app.  If you remember to bring up the app while you are waiting for the train or just as you board, it will even show that the ticket is active when you are in the tunnel and have no internet connection.  One of the fare inspectors let me know that when I asked about what happens if they check for a ticket when there is no cell service.  The app also has a panel for Where’s My Train.  You select your station and it tells you what trains are coming to that station on what lines and in how many minutes.  I used it sitting at my desk at work to time when to leave, when the weather was poor, or just too hot.  It works very well.

The office where I worked was right next to the Pearl Street station.  It was literally a stone’s throw away.  It would have been a 30 second walk except Dallas police will ticket you, or at least yell at you, for jaywalking, even if there isn’t a car in sight.  It could not have been more convenient.

The trip from Bush to Pearl was around 30 minutes.  In the mornings, I could have driven it in 15 or 20, but in the evenings that drive could be anything from 30 to 90 minutes.  The trip from LBJ/Central was less, maybe 17 minutes.  I got a seat right away all but one time. 

Seats are not comfortable, but adequate.  I witnessed some of the same passenger behavior that I saw all the years I commuted by subway and train in New York – man-spreading, people hogging the whole seat, one way or another, people standing in and blocking the exit, people trying to force their way on before letting anyone off. But in the 21st Century, we have other ways for people to aggravate you.  Talking loudly on the phone is one, and playing music on the phone at maximum volume with no earbuds or headphones is another.  And there is the ever-popular, hold a 42 ounce drink using your knees and drop it on somebody when the train stops suddenly.  Only got my shoes.

I witnessed one attempted crime – a guy had his bike on the train, and was standing up holding on to it.  A young man tried to grab the bike and run off with it as the train stopped at the Forest Lane station.  There was a scuffle but the thief was unsuccessful.  I also witnessed dozens of people who had not paid for a ticket and got caught by fare inspectors.  The fare inspectors are nice and just scold people, or have them buy a ticket on the spot using their phones.  However, one time the fare inspection was being done by a DART police officer, with a gun and handcuffs, etc.  They do not fool around.  He issued a citation to the guy sitting next to me for not having a ticket.  It was a $50 ride.  Then the cop asked for ID, and the unticketed passenger had an out of state license.  The cop asked how long he had been here, and he replied a few months.  The cop explained that he could issue another citation for not having changed the driver’s license within thirty days, but he didn’t.

As I rode the train for a while, I became less and less comfortable with it.  I started out watching movies on my iPad, until I realized some guy was watching me, and I wondered if what I was doing was really smart.  I think it wasn’t.  After that I switched to an e-reader, or just brought a book.  Mornings felt safe, but I sometimes would leave a little early in the afternoons, and, just like in New York, you felt less safe if there were fewer people on the train.


My most recent DART trip was after I stopped commuting for work.  My wife and I went to the Dallas Museum of Art, and took the train.  On the southbound leg, there was a middle-aged white woman wearing what looked like nurse attire who was talking very loudly and very clearly on her phone, with earbuds in both ears.  It was really loud, and was obvious that it was a work-related conversation.  Sitting behind her was an old black man, who started yelling at her, ‘Shut the f___ up’, over and over again.  I kind of agreed with him.  The woman got up and moved as far away from him as she could, never stopping her conversation.  Then the fare inspector came.  The man had no ticket, argued with the fare inspector for a while, and finally bolted off the train at the Mockingbird Station.  So, my wife got the full experience.  Our trip back in the afternoon was more routine.  And we had parked at LBJ/Central, and we did go to the gym.

Monday, June 22, 2015

A modest proposal

We need to do away with the anachronism known as the Bill of Rights.





Amendment I
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

This amendment has been an unending source of problems preventing a just and equal society.  The ‘religion’ clause has been perverted by the radical right to prevent the much needed and popular distribution of birth control, for free, to any woman who wants it.  Instead the Catholic Church has been supporting the religious right in opposing this just and progressive initiative.

Furthermore, churches have vast fortunes which are not being subjected to normal taxation, which means a less fair society.

Also, the freedom of speech has been abused so badly that it needs some sort of limitation.  As Martin O’Malley has pointed out, we need to silence the National Rifle Association.  And the relentless attacks of radical right wing organizations such as Fox News on our President should not be allowed to continue.  A just, fair, progressive society cannot be created with such a background of vituperation.

This amendment needs to be repealed.

Amendment II
A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

This amendment isn’t even clear.  What it appears to say is that because the Redcoats might come back, everybody needs to have a gun, so they can get out there and fight them off.  The Redcoats are not coming back. 

We need to take guns out of our society for everyone’s benefit.  We need to allow Congress to pass laws restricting guns for all of our safety, and if Congress won’t act we need for our President to be able to take action by Executive Order.  Guns should be allowed only for licensed hunters, who have had background investigations, and hunters should be re-licensed every year.

This amendment needs to be repealed.  Even Karl Rove agrees that we can’t have gun control in this country until this amendment is repealed.

Amendment III
No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

This is another completely obsolete amendment. The Redcoats are not coming back.  It needs to be repealed.

Amendment IV
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

In order to enforce the new Federal gun laws, it will be absolutely necessary for the police (hopefully the Federal police, another much needed reform) to be able to go into any place in order to search for illegal firearms. The necessity for a just, peaceful, progressive society trumps the old, obsolete, Eighteenth Century notion of individual rights.  Anyone who has ever been on the Internet has already waived any right to privacy anyway.

The fourth amendment needs to be repealed.  It has been ignored for the most part by the Federal Government since (at least) the Clinton Administration and has certainly been obsolete since September 11, 2001.

Amendment V
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

The Fifth Amendment has been long abused.  Look, for example, at George Zimmerman.  Why is he walking the streets and getting into more trouble?  He should have been arrested for the murder of Trayvon Martin and should still be locked up.  Why is it even necessary to try an individual such as that?  Why do we have to spend taxpayer money on this Roof individual?  Everyone knows he is guilty.

The takings clause is widely ignored anyway.  Any prosecutor can just confiscate anything he wants to for any reason or no reason.  In New York City they can take your vehicle and not even have to tell you why.  Look at what happened to AIG.  The government seized the company and paid nothing, and then sold off the stock it seized.

As far as someone being a witness against himself, ‘taking the Fifth’ is widely understood to be an admission of guilt anyway, so there is no real benefit to it.  As for the prohibition against double jeopardy, the Federal Government has worked its way around that any time necessary.  For example the police officers who beat Rodney King were retried for the same offense (they only beat him once) on civil rights grounds.

The Fifth Amendment interferes with the just, equal, progressive society and must be repealed.

Amendment VI
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

The Sixth Amendment is obsolete and should be repealed.  Do you think for a moment that an impartial jury can be found for someone like Roof?  And when that videographer made the anti-Muslim video that caused the Benghazi tragedy, wasn’t the President right to have him locked up, held with no charges, and throw away the key?  Why should a Zimmerman have to be given equal treatment in court with some innocent defendant? And why should we have to pay for his lawyer?

The Government is already ignoring this amendment whenever it needs to (cf. Gitmo) and it should already have been repealed.

Amendment VII
In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Twenty dollars?  Absurd.  And courts overturn facts found by juries all the time – all you have to do is assert improper influence or bias and you can do it.  This amendment no longer serves any purpose and should be repealed.

Amendment VIII
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

This is another obsolete amendment.  The bikers in Waco were all held with $1 million bail even though most of them were just spectators.  Who decides what is excessive?  And our President imposed fines on the oil company responsible for the big leak in the Gulf without any legal proceedings at all.  With the near-elimination of the death penalty, which a more progressive Supreme Court will completely eliminate soon, the prohibition against cruel and unusual punishments will be obsolete.  This amendment should be repealed.

Amendment IX
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

This sure sounds like States Rights to me, and in order to prevent outrages like the Confederate Battle Flag appearing anywhere except in a history book, it needs to be repealed.

Amendment X
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

Oh, please, more States Rights.  The power should be in the hands of the Federal Government.  It is the surest way to a fair, equal, progressive society.  The states missed their chance.  This amendment must be repealed.

The Bill of Rights is really the Bill of No Rights, according to the Federal Government, and its repeal is basically already done, but we need to make it official.  This will help lead to a more equal, just, peaceful, and progressive society for all Americans.

Let's start the movement now!  Repeal the Bill of Rights!