December 25, 2016

The Essence Of The Christmas Story

A report from SBS Comedy in Australia. “The New South Wales Government has announced that it is supporting Australians celebrating Christmas by turning the entire city into an enormous nativity scene by making it virtually impossible for any young couple to secure housing or accommodation. ‘This is the most audacious cultural program the city of Sydney has ever embarked upon,’ said Premier Mike Baird. ‘Australians love Christmas, and we’re recreating the conditions of Jesus Christ’s birth by making sure young couples are forced to stay in barns and stables. This, to me, is the essence of the Christmas story.’”

“‘It’s a fully interactive nativity experience for a modern city, and all we had to do to achieve it was make the meagre housing that does exist unfathomably expensive. Merry Christmas, Sydney,’ said Baird.”

The Daily Telegraph. “Residents of rural NSW are offering their spare homes for rent at $1 per week in a desperate bid to attract more families with school-going children into their communities. The reduced rent is almost 500 times cheaper than Sydney’s median rent of $520 per week and works out to about 15 cents a day. The catch is that most of the properties require some work and are often in isolated locations.”

“Properties currently available include a five-bedroom house on the outskirts of Cumnock, a town 60km west of Orange with roughly 275 people. The house needs a lick of paint and the main door requires mending. The home gets water from a large tank. A two-bedroom farmhouse located between Cumnock and Parkes, a bigger regional centre in the area, is also available for $1 a week rent. The house is located up 8km of dirt road and requires painting. The laundry, bathroom and garage require repair and the listing specifies that the tenant ‘needs to be a handy person with reno experience.’”

“Cumnock resident Christine Weston of, where many of the listings appear, said the cheap rents were part of an initiative to save the local schools. Many rural schools were in danger of closing or losing teaching staff on account of falling student numbers, she said. ‘We’re looking for big families with children to move in and fill up the schools. The bigger the family, the better,’ Ms Weston said.”

“The current stock of $1 rentals has attracted interest from as far as Scotland, she added. ‘The big cities simply don’t have affordable housing available,’ Ms Weston said. ‘Large families, especially those in Sydney, are struggling to pay rents each week, so moving out here is an appealing option. It’s not just cheaper, there’s more space and it’s a change of lifestyle.’”

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Comment by Ben Jones
2016-12-25 00:24:27

‘Lower property prices good for many in Karratha’

Comment by The Enrager
2016-12-25 08:46:58

Everyday is Christmas with falling prices to dramatically lower and more affordable levels accelerating the economy and creating jobs like only falling prices can.

Merry Christmas to all and especially my good friends!

Comment by azdude
2016-12-25 05:41:32

why do people continue to overpay for grossly inflated assets such as stocks and homes?

Comment by jerzdebil
2016-12-25 09:37:21

For a lot of them, they are almost completely ignorant of mathematics, economics/personal finance, and history. And if they came of age in the last 10 or so years, they have a completely warped sense of reality - the current situation is their normal. I have to tell the sprouts at work how it used to be in with housing, education, and health care just a mere 20 years ago. Its gotta be like a fairy tale to them.

Comment by SW
2016-12-25 11:26:40

As someone in their mid 30s I can just barely remember the old normal. Those younger than me and most older than me are really blind to our economic condition.

Comment by rms
2016-12-25 11:16:12

Two California friends were given the “female ultimatum.” Buy or else.

Comment by Neuromance
2016-12-25 17:04:04

With stocks, it’s a almost completely useless logical construct that traders try to sell at ever higher prices in order to net a currency gain.

With houses, I suspect most are actual consumers of the product. The American central planners have optimized the game for the traders (flippers) and the FIRE sector, guaranteeing nearly half-million dollar loans transferred to the FIRE sector via the GSEs.

What unconscionable by the central planners is pretending there’s no consumer buy-side, only a flipper sell-side and optimizing the market for the flippers and FIRE sector, not the consumer.

The concept of the apolitical, dispassionate technocrat has been a cherished fantasy for a long time, but these technocrats have skin in the game they’re influencing.

Comment by azdude
2016-12-25 05:59:07
Comment by alphonso bedoya
2016-12-25 18:04:35

Of course, Walmart couldn’t possibly afford to pay these people to be “Parking-lot Watchman.”
What does $900 million dollars buy you?
Consider: The Walmart children are a family of billionaires ranging from $7 billion to $30+ billion.

There are 4500 Walmarts in the USA. Let’s suppose that ten homeless people live in each parking lot. You could pay each one of them, $10,000/year, for TWENTY years, to be a Walmart Parking Lot Watchman(WPLW).
After twenty years, we’ll worry THEN about the next twenty years.

It’s either that or making a $900 million dollar downpayment on a brand-new F-XX fighter jet.

Comment by The Enrager
2016-12-25 18:20:40

A strange trend considering the 25 million excess empty and defaulted houses out there.

Comment by redmondjp
2016-12-25 23:45:11

Making up numbers out of thin air again, Housing Analyst?

Burned-out shells in Detroit don’t count.

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Comment by The Enrager
2016-12-26 09:16:05

Read up my good friend. Read up.

Comment by taxpayers
2016-12-25 06:46:44

Christmas future
In oil town Minot zillow offers no prediction
Miami up .9%

Does zillow ever call for a down market?

Comment by oxide
2016-12-25 06:51:46

From yesterday:

Comment by palmetto
2016-12-24 17:26:16
I’ll be honest, I did have a wee bit of a meltdown earlier on election night, when it looked like it was going for Hillary. I was on the phone with a family member cursing up a blue streak.

However, I managed to refrain from filming myself and posting it to youtube.

Eh, don’t feel bad. I had a mini-meltdown the day after Kerry lost in 2004. In my defense, Bush had already proven that he was crap, unlike Trump who is still an unknown. And yup, no way would I have filmed myself.

Comment by palmetto
2016-12-25 08:06:17

“Eh, don’t feel bad. I had a mini-meltdown the day after Kerry lost in 2004.”

And a Merry Christmas to you and yours, oxide. Or greetings of the season, if you celebrate another holiday.

I posted that to let it be known that not all Trump supporters are stoics. I freely admit to being somewhat emotionally invested in his campaign. And it definitely had its ups and downs. Therefore, I can understand those who felt the same about another candidate, although I may not understand why.

No need to defend yourself regarding Kerry. He might have been very different as a president than as SOS under Obama. We’ll never know. Funny you should mention it, though. I recall during the 2004 campaign cycle, I was listening to the local public radio station’s call in show, and someone from the local Democratic party office in Sarasota called in and went on a rant about how they hadn’t been getting any assistance or contact from the Kerry campaign and no guidance on what they should do.

I really sometimes wonder if Kerry deliberately threw the race to Bush and I know I wasn’t the only one speculating on it. He really should have won that one. And for those who talk about how nasty some Democrats have been about Trump, they should remember who ramped up the cycle of political viciousness: Karl Rove. It was on full display during 2004. Of course, that’s a neocon thing.

Comment by taxpayers
2016-12-25 08:13:15

Oxide,what are feds saying about trump potential rifs etc.?
In n va there’s not much panic as they feel DoD will get more.
Also ,keep us posted on silver,is there a silver miner worth buying?


Comment by Raymond K Hessel
2016-12-25 09:10:20

SLW. Do your own due diligence.

Comment by oxide
2016-12-25 09:21:11

There isn’t much talk about rifs on the technical side of things, although there might be a bit of downsizing on the admin side. But I have heard no talk about wiping out entire agencies or departments, not yet. I think the real cuts are going to come to contractors and R&D, national labs and such, especially if If Trump ditches greenie for fossil.

Comment by Apartment 401
2016-12-25 11:13:30

I had a feeling this was coming when I left my last government cheese contractor position at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

They got their $17B of Obamabux in 2009 but those days are over :(

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Comment by oxide
2016-12-25 11:24:44

I had occasion to visit the public exhibit at NREL less than 10 years ago. What a POS. The research they were displaying was the same-old same-old alternative energy that Carter championed in the 1970s. Unless there’s some real top-secret stuff going on (unlikely), it was a waste of gov money.

Comment by rms
2016-12-25 11:42:33

Did ‘ya roll some coal in their parking lot? :)

Comment by mcbain!
2016-12-25 15:15:00

NREL is involved in some shady stuff per wikileaks. Run by a private LLC, how does that work? Lots of weird projects with organizations that I think might use the pretense of supplying green energy to places in Haiti and Africa. Those same organizations also specialize in biological and chemical warfare agents and their mitigation. I’m sure its a coincidence, and if anything bad happens, the Russians will be blamed.

Comment by Ethan in Northern VA
2016-12-25 11:58:16

I’m planning to leave my private-company tech job and move to a contractor after the new year. Would take another private company if I can find something fun. But looking to move up in the pay to go with the high cost of living in the DC metro area.

I work for a Silicon Valley based tech company (maybe some would call it an app company), the vibe is changing there for next year definitely. I think spending is going to be cut back, and it was pretty abrupt.

Comment by taxpayers
2016-12-25 18:05:02

Tx n va a rent situation unroll the human tornado comes to earth

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Comment by redmondjp
2016-12-25 23:48:40

Well, in the Seattle area, it looks like venture capital spending may have peaked in 2015:

We’ll have to wait and see how steep the downslope is.

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Comment by Professor Bear
2016-12-25 06:53:13

‘Australians love Christmas, and we’re recreating the conditions of Jesus Christ’s birth by making sure young couples are forced to stay in barns and stables. This, to me, is the essence of the Christmas story.’

California Christmas comes to Oz…How touching!

Comment by In Colorado
2016-12-25 09:19:09

No imperial census needed. Though I suppose that the modern equivalent of a barn and a manger would be a large parking lot, full of overnight campers in their cars

Comment by oxide
2016-12-25 11:31:14

I suppose the Aussies could all stay in those barns and stables that they are renting for $4/month.

And oh, if they are looking for kids to fill the schools, why not take in a few thousand refugees? No shortage there. Or is that racis?

Comment by The Enrager
2016-12-25 12:03:39

The poor Donks. The poor poor Donks.

Comment by rms
2016-12-25 11:48:17

The church could resurrect the penny hang.

Comment by 2banana
2016-12-25 07:17:01

Ha. Reminds me of when Hillary called Jesus and his parents “homeless”

Mary and Joseph had to travel to Bethlehem due to government regulations in order to be in a census in ordered to be taxed properly.

And that’s why they were “homeless”

But facts never get in the way of the progressive meme.

Comment by oxide
2016-12-25 07:39:51

The SJWs are now calling Mary and Joseph “refugees” that no one wants to take in, as a guilt metaphor.

Comment by phony scandals
2016-12-25 07:53:35

That reminded me I head someone say if Donald Trump walked on water the MSM would say….

See he can’t even swim!

Comment by palmetto
2016-12-25 09:18:59

Donald Trump attends Christmas Eve service and is greeted with applause:

Merry Christmas, DJT and God bless you and yours.

Comment by In Colorado
2016-12-25 09:30:55

Exactly, they weren’t homeless. Their home was in Nazareth. They qere basically looking for a hotel room for their brief stay in Bethlehem, and the place was swamped.

As for their temporary move to Egypt, at the time both Israel and Egypt were Roman territories, so for them it basically a move. I’m pretty sure that immigant visas were not required back then.

Some scholars believe that the Egypt story was embellished. IIRC it’s only narrated in Matthew. Many believe that the flight was described the way it was to draw a parallel between Jesus and Moses.

Comment by oxide
2016-12-25 18:07:06

looking for a hotel room for their brief stay in Bethlehem, and the place was swamped.

Which gave me a funny thought. I imagine that ALL of the hotels in all of the cities would be swamped. After, everybody who had moved since they were born (which is probably almost everyone) would be traveling and looking for hotels. Too bad those Israelites didn’t have AirBNB, or they could have rented out their (empty) homes to the incomers. Jesus could have been born in a nice house for $195/night. Woulda been heck for the homeowner to clean up tho.

Comment by azdude
2016-12-25 07:35:13

Equity paid for xmas b@tchez!

Comment by rms
2016-12-25 11:56:40

Equity is so twentieth-century.

Comment by tresho
2016-12-25 08:03:38

Luke 2:1, KJV: “And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.”
No matter what your beliefs may be, this is one line from the Bible that came true. And how!

Comment by Ben Jones
2016-12-25 08:20:53

‘Silent Night: The Story of the World War I Christmas Truce of 1914′

‘On a crisp, clear morning, thousands of British, Belgian and French soldiers put down their rifles, stepped out of their trenches and spent Christmas mingling with their German enemies along the Western front. In the hundred years since, the event has been seen as a kind of miracle.’

‘To this day historians continue to disagree over the specifics: no one knows where it began or how it spread, or if, by some curious festive magic, it broke out simultaneously across the trenches. Nevertheless, some two-thirds of troops — about 100,000 people — are believed to have participated in the legendary truce.’

‘Most accounts suggest the truce began with carol singing from the trenches on Christmas Eve, “a beautiful moonlit night, frost on the ground, white almost everywhere”, as Pvt. Albert Moren of the Second Queens Regiment recalled, in a document later rounded up by the New York Times.’

‘Graham Williams of the Fifth London Rifle Brigade described it in even greater detail: “First the Germans would sing one of their carols and then we would sing one of ours, until when we started up ‘O Come, All Ye Faithful’ the Germans immediately joined in singing the same hymn to the Latin words Adeste Fideles. And I thought, well, this is really a most extraordinary thing ­– two nations both singing the same carol in the middle of a war.”

‘The next morning, in some places, German soldiers emerged from their trenches, calling out “Merry Christmas” in English. Allied soldiers came out warily to greet them. In others, Germans held up signs reading “You no shoot, we no shoot.” Over the course of the day, troops exchanged gifts of cigarettes, food, buttons and hats. The Christmas truce also allowed both sides to finally bury their dead comrades, whose bodies had lain for weeks on “no man’s land,” the ground between opposing trenches. The phenomenon took different forms across the Western front.’

Comment by Raymond K Hessel
2016-12-25 08:32:59

Paul McCartney - Pipes of Peace (commemorating 1914 Christmas truce)

Comment by palmetto
2016-12-25 08:52:08

Good stuff there. Sigh. And then he goes and trips the light fantastic with Hillary at a fundraiser. I don’t get it.

Comment by palmetto
2016-12-25 08:55:28

Anyway, thanks for the post, Ben. I have heard of this before, part of WW1’s history. One wonders why they had to take up arms against each other after that.

Imagine if the people just refused to harm each other, despite the exhortations of their warmongers.

Merry Christmas to all.

Comment by Raymond K Hessel
2016-12-25 08:21:15

Merry Christmas, everyone.

Bony M - Oh My Lord

Comment by Raymond K Hessel
Comment by phony scandals
2016-12-25 08:32:00

Engine’s getting hot;
we dodge the kangaroos,
The swaggie climbs aboard,
he is welcome too.
All the family’s there,
sitting by the pool,
Christmas Day the Aussie way,
by the barbecue.

Oh! Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way,
Christmas in Australia on a scorching summers day, Hey!
Jingle bells, jingle bells, Christmas time is beaut!,
Oh what fun it is to ride in a rusty Holden Ute.

Six White Boomers

In Australia, Christmas comes in the towards the beginning of the summer holidays! Children have their summer holidays from mid December to early February, so some people might even be camping at Christmas.

Comment by Raymond K Hessel
2016-12-25 08:37:18

Cat attacks dweeb who got overly excited about getting a Playstation for Christmas.

Comment by Professor Bear
2016-12-25 19:23:07

Who knew cats were intelligent?

Comment by Raymond K Hessel
2016-12-25 08:45:23

Flying Pickets - Only You (#1 UK Christmas song in 1983)

Comment by Senior Housing Analyst
2016-12-25 08:56:57

Ashland, OR Housing Prices Crater 6% YoY

Comment by azdude
2016-12-25 10:44:11


Comment by alphonso bedoya
2016-12-25 11:14:13

Southwest coast Floridians:

In the last three years there has been a noticeably erosion along the beaches in Longboat Key and Anna Maria. Also—at high tide, the top of the seawalls, on the bay side, are twelve inches from the water. Have you noticed these changes in Tampa, as well?
I am aware that Long Boat and Anna Maria replenish their beaches, but, at some point ….

On the other coast, Miami Beach wants to keep its flooding out of the news, and, Ft. Lauderdale along Las Olas Blvd, may disappear in a storm surge.

What am I missing here?

Comment by palmetto
2016-12-25 12:28:36

“Have you noticed these changes in Tampa, as well?”

Bayshore Blvd floods quite often from high seas, rains, etc. It’s been that way ever since I moved to the area in 2000.

Beach erosion is not uncommon, from what I’ve read, the sand that is taken away from one area shifts to another and builds up where it is deposited. When I wuz a pup, they were building “groins” (peninsulas made of large rocks) out into the ocean from the beaches in East Hampton to prevent two of the more popular beaches from eroding away.

This page has an image of Florida from 24,000 years ago.

I didn’t know that about Las Olas Blvd, though. I don’t recall it being that bad when I lived there.

Comment by alphonso bedoya
2016-12-25 18:18:41

Yup. Surf-fished some of those beaches in mid 1960s. Walked out on some wooden jetties, as well, at Reis park, near the beach firehouse station, in late September and early October, with my Mitchell 306.
Winter surf is hypnotic.

Some North Carolina studies have shown that rock jetties create U-shape beach erosion between the jetties.

Comment by palmetto
2016-12-25 20:08:37

Too many people here in Florida, beyond what the state can really sustain, IMO. When brackish water starts running from the taps, then maybe something will be done, but until then, they’ll keep building irresponsibly, because money.

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Comment by alphonso bedoya
2016-12-25 21:57:14

Salt water intrusion in aquifers is coming. That’s South Florida’s Achilles heel.

Comment by redmondjp
2016-12-25 23:52:03

Good thing that we know how to make desalinization plants! The bigger question is how to power them.

Comment by phony scandals
2016-12-26 08:28:09

Jupiter Utility Boasts Nanofiltration Plant Unique in the U.S.

The town of Jupiter doesn’t mind being first in terms of its water treatment technology.

In 1990, Jupiter was the first town in the southeastern part of the state to build a reverse osmosis desalination plant. Now, it is first again with a nanofiltration plant that features a design that is new to the nation.

The EPA can’t figure out the felons elected in Flint Michigan have made a decision to poison their citizens with lead but they can recognize a town that saw a problem coming and did something about it.

Annual Water Quality Report & Awards

United States Environmental Protection Agency Award
1999 Safe Drinking Water Act Excellence Award for the Large Ground Water Public Water Supply - Region 4 (Southeastern United States)

2001 Safe Drinking Water Act Excellence Award for the Large Ground Water Public Water Supply - Region 4 (Southeastern United States)

2008 Safe Drinking Water Act Excellence Award for the Large Ground Water Public Water Supply - Region 4 (Southeastern United States)

What Sets Us Apart
In 1990, Jupiter Utilities looked into the future. We studied anticipated growth, reviewed the impact of that growth on natural resources, and researched the most advanced water systems in the country to formulate a safer, more environmentally-friendly water utility. The result was the creation of a reverse osmosis (RO) program, which stands as one of the largest brackish water desalination programs in the United States today. The water plant is capable of producing over 70% of our current average daily supply by desalination. This allows us to maximize the preservation of fresh water for our local environment in times of prolonged drought.

The Town of Jupiter Utilities has recently implemented the nanofiltration treatment which has replaced the older conventional lime softening water treatment facility. Nanofiltration, like reverse osmosis, utilizes advanced membrane treatment technology to remove undesirable dissolved constituents from the groundwater. It is considered the ultimate barrier against virus and bacteria that can be found in raw water.

The nanofiltration process utilizes the fresh shallow aquifer as its supply. The reverse osmosis process utilizes brackish water from the deep Floridan Aquifer. Both RO and nanofiltration processes operate by forcing raw water under a high pressure through a semipermeable membrane that is capable of separating contaminants from the flow stream as a function of the membrane’s chemical and physical properties.

Comment by phony scandals
2016-12-25 15:40:03

“What am I missing here?”

As of Nov. 9, 2016 a carbon tax.

Comment by Apartment 401
2016-12-25 11:17:21

“Soviet mathematician and dissident Igor Shafarevich, who spent many years in the Gulag slave labor camps for his opposition to the communist regime, said in his book The Socialist Phenomenon (1980):

Most socialist doctrines and movements are literally saturated with the mood of death, catastrophe, and destruction … One could regard the death of mankind as the final result to which the development of socialism leads.”

Comment by 2banana
2016-12-25 11:48:04

But it’s for the children!!!!

Wage inequity!!!

Free health care!!

And the dreamers!

Comment by rms
2016-12-25 12:02:04

Pull on some wool and take that dog out for a walk. :)

Comment by Raymond K Hessel
2016-12-25 19:04:52

Socialism always comes down to forcibly expropriating the wealth and assets of the productive and “redistributing” it to the parasites who support socialist collectivism.

Comment by rms
2016-12-25 14:27:28

Russian Hackers, James Comey, or maybe it was the Housing Market?

“A core part of the American dream has changed…”

Comment by The Enrager
2016-12-25 14:47:27

The ongoing and elarging housing debacle isn’t anyone’s imagination. Everyone knew it was a debacle as far back as 1999. Much effort and resources are used to run interference for it. We see these resources executed, albeit poorly all over the Internet every day.

Comment by butters
2016-12-25 15:39:54

Happy Xmas y’all!

Comment by Senior Housing Analyst
2016-12-25 16:03:02

Sloan Lake Denver CO Housing Prices Crater 12% YoY

Comment by rms
2016-12-25 17:27:40

One block from the lake, only $500k, 2 beds, 1 bath, 900 sqft:

Hehe… and it’s pending.

Comment by Ben Jones
2016-12-25 17:31:47

12/21/16 Pending sale $499,000 $554 –
06/30/16 Listed for sale $499,000+17.4% $554
06/09/16 Sold $425,000-2.1% $472
05/17/16 Listing removed $433,900 $482
05/03/16 Listed for sale $433,900+1,300%
09/01/76 Sold $31,000 $34

Comment by The Enrager
2016-12-25 18:04:08

You don’t think there’s any fraud involved in that transaction do you?

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Comment by Big Fat Ugly Bubble
2016-12-25 17:07:50

Recently there was another flurry of bank settlements. Where does all the money go? (Yes, I know nytimes sucks, but here’s what they reported about it.)

““The real financial cost to the bank could be considerably lower,” said Laurie Goodman, a specialist in housing at the Urban Institute.”

Mostly it is soft money. “help for borrowers”. Yeah, right.

Though, some people got checks for a couple thousand dollars. Heh.

Comment by Neuromance
2016-12-25 18:50:19

Looks like those big “wins” were mostly theater put on by the Justice Department and Wall Street. Holder and Breuer said they weren’t going after Wall Street in PBS Frontline’s “The Untouchables.”

Color me shocked:

Comment by azdude
2016-12-26 05:28:44

my xmas was awesome. might buy a car today.

Do you guys when yellen hiked a 1/4 point last year at about the same times? Markets went into free fall after the first and then the doves started to fly. That went on all year.

Comment by phony scandals
2016-12-26 07:53:24

“my xmas was awesome.”

Good for you!

Hope your 2017 is also.

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