Monthly Archives: August 2014

Spotlight: The Chrysler Building – voted favorite New York City Building

Chrysler1 Chrysler2 Chrysler3

The Chrysler Building is an Art Deco style skyscraper in New York City, located on the east side of Manhattan in the Turtle Bay area.  At 1,046 feet (319 m), the structure was the world’s tallest building for 11 months before it was surpassed by the Empire State Building in 1931. It is still the tallest brick building in the world, albeit with an internal steel skeleton. In addition, The New York Times Building, which opened in 2007, is exactly level with the Chrysler Building in height. Both buildings were then pushed into 4th position, when the under construction One World Trade Center surpassed their height.

The Chrysler Building is a classic example of Art Deco architecture and considered by many contemporary architects to be one of the finest buildings in New York City. In 2007, it was ranked ninth on the List of America’s Favorite Architecture by the American Institute of Architects. It was the headquarters of the Chrysler Corporation from 1930 until the mid-1950s. Although the building was built and designed specifically for the car manufacturer, the corporation did not pay for the construction of it and never owned it, as Walter P. Chrysler decided to pay for it himself, so that his children could inherit it.

The Chrysler Building was designed by architect William Van Alen for a project of Walter P. Chrysler. When the ground breaking occurred on September 19, 1928, there was an intense competition in New York City to build the world’s tallest skyscraper. Despite a frantic pace (the building was built at an average rate of four floors per week), no workers died during the construction of this skyscraper.

CONSTRUCTION:

Construction commenced on September 19, 1928. In total, almost 400,000 rivets were used and approximately 3,826,000 bricks were manually laid, to create the non-load bearing walls of the skyscraper. Contractors, builders and engineers were joined by other building-services experts to coordinate construction.

Prior to its completion, the building stood about even with a rival project at 40 Wall Street, designed by H. Craig Severance. Severance increased the height of his project and then publicly claimed the title of the world’s tallest building (This distinction excluded structures that were not fully habitable, such as theEiffel Tower).  In response, Van Alen obtained permission for a 38-meter (125 ft) long spire and had it secretly constructed inside the frame of the building. The spire was delivered to the site in four different sections. On October 23, 1929, the bottom section of the spire was hoisted onto the top of the building’s dome and lowered into the 66th floor of the building. The other remaining sections of the spire were hoisted and riveted to the first one in sequential order in just 90 minutes.

Upon completion, May 20, 1930, the added height of the spire allowed the Chrysler Building to surpass 40 Wall Street as the tallest building in the world and the Eiffel Tower as the tallest structure. It was the first man-made structure to stand taller than 1,000 feet (305 m). Van Alen’s satisfaction in these accomplishments was likely muted by Walter Chrysler’s later refusal to pay the balance of his architectural fee.

DESIGN:

The Chrysler Building is considered a leading example of Art Deco architecture. The corners of the 61st floor are graced with eagles; on the 31st floor, the corner ornamentation are replicas of the 1929 Chrysler radiator caps. The building is constructed of masonry, with a steel frame, and metal cladding. In total, the building currently contains 3,862 windows on its facade and 4 banks of 8 elevators designed by the Otis Elevator Corporation. The building was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1976.

The Chrysler Building is also renowned and recognized for its terraced crown. Composed of seven radiating terraced arches, Van Alen’s design of the crown is a cruciform groin vault constructed into seven concentric members with transitioning setbacks, mounted up one behind another. The stainless-steel cladding is ribbed and riveted in a radiating sunburst pattern with many triangular vaulted windows, transitioning into smaller segments of the seven narrow setbacks of the facade of the terraced crown. The entire crown is clad with silvery “Enduro KA-2” metal, an austenitic stainless steel developed in Germany by Krupp and marketed under the trade name “Nirosta” (a German acronym for nichtrostender Stahl, meaning “non-rusting steel”).

When the building first opened, it contained a public viewing gallery on the 71st floor, which was closed to the public in 1945. This floor is now the highest occupied floor of the Chrysler Building, it was occupied by an office space management firm in 1986. The private Cloud Club occupied a three-floor high space from the 66th–68th floors, but closed in the late 1970s. Above the 71st floor, the stories of the building are designed mostly for exterior appearance, functioning mainly as landings for the stairway to the spire. These top stories are very narrow with low, sloped ceilings, and are useful only for holding radio-broadcasting and other mechanical and electrical equipment. Television station WCBS-TV (Channel 2) originally transmitted from the top of the Chrysler in the 1940s and early 1950s, before moving to the Empire State Building. For many years, WPAT-FM and WTFM (now WKTU) also used the Chrysler Building as a transmission site, but they also moved to the Empire State Building by the 1970s. There are currently no commercial broadcast stations located at the Chrysler Building.

PROMINENCE:

The Chrysler Building has been shown in several movies that take place in New York. In the summer of 2005, New York’s own Skyscraper Museum asked one hundred architects, builders, critics, engineers, historians, and scholars, among others, to choose their 10 favorites among 25 New York towers. The Chrysler Building came in first place as 90% of them placed the building in their top-10 favorite buildings.[

The Chrysler Building’s distinctive profile has inspired similar skyscrapers worldwide, including One Liberty Place in Philadelphia.

Thanks for following – the eventsfy team

*http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chrysler_Building

America Should Only Arm the Syrian Rebels with a Broad Intl Coalition

by Richard Saunders – August, 2014 (opinions expressed don’t necessary represent eventsfy views)

Let’s broaden the normal narrow perspective we usually hear from our politicians today and take a look at ALL the major foreign issues facing America now to obtain proper context why not choosing to arm the Syrian Opposition (Rebels) beyond minor assistance and small arms was the best option without broad international support.  Studies show that arming rebels rarely helps the situation unless the broad external forces are on the same page.  Beyond this Syrian issue, there are four other major foreign issues—Ukraine, Iraq, Israel/Palestine, and Iran’s nuclear ambitions.  You must know that the Syrian issue has deep ties to these other issues.

Syria is currently ruled by Bashar al-Assad—a western educated and secularist leader who many contend exploits sectarian tension.  Regardless of Assad’s crimes against his people in Syria (as awful as they are), he has built over many years strong alliances with Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah—a Shi’a Islamist militant group and political party based in Lebanon.

Choosing early on (or now) to GREATLY arm the ragtag Syrian Rebels without broad international support would have become not only a war against the al-Assad Regime but also a heightened proxy war against Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah—who all would be very determined (much more than we) to keep one of their few allies left in the world in power against the United States.  Do you think Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah would’ve stood idly by while their friend, al-Assad, was being overthrown by the ragtag Syrian Rebels being financed and supplied weapons by the United States?  How long and bloody would this choice have been for us?  Was there REALLY any Syrian coalition that could have stabilized Syria after toppling al-Assad?  We’ve already spent trillions of dollars in Iraq along with thousands of American lives and isn’t the situation less stable now than it was before—isn’t it?  Why do we really think that this time in Syria we could have implemented a stable government among all the sectarian divisions in Syria when facing many fiercely opposing nations?  Can’t we learn from our past mistakes?  Furthermore, how many times have we seen weapons given to our “allies” in the Middle East fall into the hands of our enemies—Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.?

Early on without any broad international support to support the Syrian Rebels, chances of success in Syria were absolutely bleak and we honestly couldn’t have known if the outcome after supplying military weapons and support for the Rebels in Syria would have created a better outcome—one could easily argue that a worse outcome would have transpired based on historical evidence and all the opposing parties (Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah).

If we had supplied military weapons and support for the Syrian Rebels, then:

  • Russia and Iran would have supplied EVEN more weapons to the Syrian Regime
  • Iran and Hezbollah would have supplied more fighters and personnel for the Syrian Regime
  • Russia would have used this pretext and moral equivalency to supply even more weapons and military support to Ukrainian Rebels in Eastern Ukraine with unforeseen outcomes
  • Iran and Hezbollah would have used this pretext and moral equivalency to supply even more weapons and military support to Hamas in Gaza with unforeseen outcomes
  • Russia would definitely have been less likely to help us eradicate chemical weapons in Syria
  • Russia would definitely have been less likely to continue supporting economic sanctions on Iran to stop Iran’s nuclear program
  • Iran would have been less likely to continue negotiations to stop its nuclear program
  • Hezbollah would have become even more radicalized against America and Israel for our trying to topple its strongest ally and Hezbollah lives right by Israel in Lebanon
  • Russia and Iran would have felt even more indignant about America eroding their power around the world causing greater desperation—desperation causes desperate actions
  • More Muslims would have absolutely been radicalized—rightly or wrongly—from seeing America interfering with another Islamic country’s sovereignty

Over these past five years, Iran has gone from President Ahmadinejad, a fiery-rhetoric and antagonist Anti-American Crusader, to President Rouhani, a measured and conciliatory-toned reformer reaching out to Americans; over these past five years, Iran has received the most crippling economic sanctions ever; and over these past five years, Iran has finally agreed to negotiate on its nuclear program.  The framework for engagement with Iran was initiated by President Obama even before he was elected President of the United States in 2008.  Much progress has been made between our two countries and toppling the Syrian Regime would have greatly undermined this progress.

This now brings us to Iraq, which Iran has benefited the most from our 2003 invasion.  Before our 2003 invasion:

  • Iran and Iraq were bitter enemies fighting a decade war in the 80s and weakening each other
  • Iraq was controlled by the minority Sunnis (34%)—now it’s controlled by the majority Shiites (64%), which also is the controlling religion of Iran (90%)
  • Iran had little influence in Iraq’s government and politics—now it has GREAT influence
  • Iran had little influence in Iraq’s military—now it supplies and supports Iraq’s military

Quick summary: Iraq used to be controlled by the minority Sunnis, who are enemies of Iran and who have been much disenfranchised with the new majority run Iraqi Shiite government.  To complicate things further, Sunnis are the MAJORITY in Syria (64%) yet the minority Shiite’s (22%) control the government run by Bashar al-Assad.  With Syria the only other Shiite controlled government besides Iran—and now Iraq—one can easily understand the desperate measures Iran would have done to maintain their ally in Syria.  All the other Middle Eastern countries besides Israel and Lebanon are Sunnis.  Confused yet?

The extremist Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), who became the victors of all the various rebel factions inside Syria, have now taken control of large swaths of land in both Syria and Iraq with military precision—not to mention seizing control over military equipment and billions of dollars provided to our “allies” (the Iraqi government) along the way.  ISIS is composed of Sunnis, who, once again, are enemies of Iran.  Iran borders Iraq.  Who do you think is more concerned about ISIS—America or Iran?  Iran IS much more concerned than the United States of ISIS insurgence because of proximity and all the historical conflicts with the Sunnis.

Because of our limited involvement in Syria, we now have:

  • A willing and eager partner in Iran to help us tame the situation in Iraq and Syria instead of an opposing partner—a chance for America and Iran to build a working relationship
  • A willing and eager partner in Hezbollah to help us tame the situation in Syria
  • A more willing partner in Russia and Iran to help us solve Iran’s nuclear program issue
  • A more willing partner in Iran and Hezbollah to not undermine any Israel/Palestinian peace agreement
  • An Iraqi government who has FINALLY recognized its need for a more inclusive government—thus nominating a new Prime Minister on August 11th

Of course, we could continue to beat our heads on the ground—not learning from our past mistakes—and continue to listen to all these neocons who haven’t found any conflict they don’t call for war.  It’s our choice to choose—old ways of thinking that don’t work need to be challenged forcefully!

 

Why Congress Blew Immigration Reform, AGAIN

Immigration-cartoon

by Richard Saunders – August 5, 2014 (opinions expressed don’t necessary represent eventsfy views)

Shortly after the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 signed into law by Ronald Reagan essentially providing amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants, the illegal immigrant situation in America became a problem again.  After decades without any immigration bill passed in Congress to fix the root problem of illegal immigration—including George Bush’s valiant push for comprehensive immigration reform in 2007—the public has become outraged with righteous indignation towards our politicians and political system.

Recent attempts to solve this problem have been thwarted by the hyper-partisan Congress, which currently couldn’t pass a bill that would allow us to grow a new plant that could feed the entire world for fear that we’d be turned into a communist dictatorship or, worse yet, somehow become a very weak nation.

In 2013, surprisingly to all of us, the Senate PASSED a very reasonable BIPARTISAN comprehensive immigration bill—called the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013—with 68 senators (Republicans, Independents, and Democrats) voting in favor of this bill.  Attaining 68 senators (out of 100 senators) in favor of any bills these days is virtually impossible but the Senate DID IT, to its credit, passing this reasonable bipartisan bill.  The bill includes:

  • The bill would make it possible for many undocumented immigrants in America before 2012 gain legal status after paying fines and back taxes, passing a background check, and applying for legal status.  It would also make the border more secure by adding up to 40,000 border patrol agents. It also advances talent-based immigration through a points-based immigration system. New visas have been proposed in this legislation, including a visa for entrepreneurs and a W visa. It also proposes new restrictions on H1B visa program to prevent its abuse and additional visas/green-cards for students with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) degrees from U.S. institutions. The bill also includes a $1.5 billion youth jobs program and repeals the Diversity Visa Lottery in favor of prospective legal immigrants who are already in the United States –http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Border_Security,_Economic_Opportunity,_and_Immigration_Modernization_Act_of_2013

So with such surprisingly and overwhelmingly bipartisan Senate support for this comprehensive immigration bill (not to mention overwhelmingly public support), why hasn’t this bill become law?

Well, if you thought the Senate was dysfunctional, let me introduce you to our present dysfunctional, at an unprecedented level, House of Representatives.  You must understand that Congress (both the Senate and House of Representatives) base so many of their procedural rules of passing laws on precedence—do what our ancestors did before.  Congress following precedence doesn’t mean the precedence occurred in 1776 when we passed the Declarations of Independence.  Precedence in Congress could have occurred last year if someone in Congress wanted to do things differently than before—and therefore, create a NEW precedence.

Do understand that so MUCH of our current GRIDLOCK with our Congress has to do with NEW precedencies being established over the years by random congresspersons—people who weren’t divinely inspired like our forefathers of the Declaration of Independence and Our Constitution were.  One of these very debilitating precedencies established in the mid-1990s is the Hastert Rule, which is a governing principle NOW followed by the Republicans of the House of Representatives to ONLY bring forth a bill that has the support of the majority of the majority.  Which means, if Republicans occupy the majority of seats in the House of Representatives, say 235 of the 435 total seats—therefore, controlling the Speakership—then the Republicans will ONLY bring forward a bill IF at least 118 of their 235 members support the bill regardless if ALL the other 200 members from the other party support the bill.  Therefore, a small interested minority of the entire United States can hold up legislation at unprecedented levels.  This Hastert Rule was NEVER established by our forefathers and one could easily argue its unconstitutionality because it has no principle of rightness.  There are other debilitating precedencies (i.e. the filibuster) but let’s just focus on the Hastert Rule precedence, for now.

So back to why this overwhelmingly bipartisan support for this comprehensive immigration bill hasn’t become law.  Blame the Hastert Rule because everyone knows if John Boehner (Speaker of the House) just allowed a vote in the House on the Senate’s bipartisan comprehensive immigration bill, it would pass and become law.

So instead of passing solutions in today’s Congress to the many problems we face, we are in constant gridlock.  John Boehner has the POWER and CAPACITY to bring forward this bipartisan immigration bill and, therefore, void the old Hastert Rule precedent.  However, he would undoubtedly lose his Speakership.

After all the chaos and hoopla coming from the right about all these unaccompanied children being apprehended at the border—due to doubling the number of border agents under Obama—we still find ourselves in total gridlock with no solution in sight with Republicans still constantly, relentlessly, and directly blaming Obama for this and every other perceived problem the United States finds itself in.

Even more baffling and confusing for President Obama is the fact that after the Republican House of Representatives couldn’t pass their OWN immigration bill (written solely by republicans) last Thursday (July 31st), they pleaded for Obama to take executive action to fix the current immigration problem…. This plea to Obama to use executive action was a day after the Republican House of Representatives passed the first-ever lawsuit to sue this President for using executive action were needed due to such Congressional gridlock.  Confused?  So am I…

BTW: Obama has used far less executive orders per year than his five predecessors (Carter, Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, Bush II).