Forerunner

21 Apr 19
Big Creek EPC

Listen: Hebrews 6:11-20 “We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf.” View a complete list of sermons from Hebrews. Or visit the Big Creek EPC sermon archives.

21 Apr 19
writing about life

It’s a tradition to hard-boil eggs or hollow them out and decorate them for Easter celebrations in many U.S. families (and families worldwide). While I was growing up, that was a given. In my own family, we took part in the egg coloring tradition, dipping eggs in a dye—that was the extent of the decorations. […]

21 Apr 19
Azusa Report

I woke up like many did in America to hear about the bombing of Catholic churches in Sri Lanka. The message seemed very dark but I was encouraged by it for one reason. I know as in the days of Zephaniah so it will be in the days of Christ’s catching up.

21 Apr 19
Autopress News

The Volkswagen ID. R has completed the next series of tests in preparation for the challenges that lie ahead. After working on the aerodynamics in the wind tunnel, the most recent tests at the racetracks in Le Castellet and Alès (both France) focused on the energy management software. The objective was to establish the ideal […]

21 Apr 19
The Magnificat

By: Danica Rose Sumat It was a gloomy afternoon so the students in Class IV-A decided to play a game. The mechanics of the game were: players must work in pairs, the first member would guide the way while the other one would be blindfolded. Anna volunteered herself to be paired with Karen. Karen was […]

21 Apr 19
The Denver Post
Colorado was a beer state since before it was a state. Adolph Coors[cq comment=”cq”] and partner Jacob Schueler[cq comment=”cq”] opened what was then the Golden Brewery in 1873, three years before Colorado achieved statehood. A century later, Colorado was at the forefront of the craft brewing movement when Boulder Beer launched in 1979 and laid claim to the title of first licensed “microbrewery” in the country. In an industry that’s seen its growth go flat in recent years, beer makers are on the lookout for, and, in many cases, already working on the next wrinkles to throw into their tanks that have potential to scoop up new drinkers or boost interest from existing ones. No surprise, Colorado is expected to be at the forefront of next wave of beer and beer alternatives, industry advocates say. “Colorado has been known as the hotbed of innovation in beer for several decades,” Andres Gil Zaldana,[cq comment=”cq”] executive director[cq comment=”cq”] of the Colorado Brewers Guild[cq comment=”cq”], said. “Consumer preference in the recent decade or so has shifted to more of a health and wellness perspective and that really fits with Colorado in general. We all like to run, hike and bike.” The growth of gluten-free breweries is indicative of that trend, Zaldana says. RELATED: From handcrafted to high-tech: Beer brewing is changing and a Colorado college is leading the way Holidaily Brewing Co.[cq comment=”cq”] founder Karen Hertz[cq comment=”cq”] has found her home state to be fertile ground. After two bouts with cancer and being diagnosed with a rare thyroid illness called Hashimoto’s disease, Hertz had her thyroid removed in 2009.[cq comment=”cq”] Doctors recommended she stop consuming gluten to protect her health. That presented a problem for the former Coors Brewing staffer and beer lover: She couldn’t find gluten-free brews she liked. She embarked on a multi-year quest to come up with gluten-free recipes that tasted like craft beer to her. That involved test brewing on the Colorado State University campus and hiring a commercial brewer. It culminated in the 2016 opening of her brewery and taproom in at 801 Brickyard Circle[cq comment=”cq”] in Golden. Replacing traditional brewing grains like barley with millet and buckwheat supplied by Grouse Malt House[cq comment=”cq”] in Wellington,[cq comment=”cq”] Holidaily — named for Hertz’ philosophy of treating every day as a holiday — brewed 1,200 barrels[cq comment=”cq”] of beer last year, nearly four times more than the 257 barrels it produced its first year in business. On May 4, Holidaily will celebrate the grand opening of a $2.8-million,[cq comment=”cq”] 10,000-square-foot[cq comment=”cq”] brewing facility a block from its first brewery and taproom. It will triple[cq comment=”cq”] the company’s capacity. Hertz’ connections in the industry certainly helped Holidaily grow. It currently has 300 distribution accounts in the state and is available in high-profile places like Coors Field and Broncos Stadium at Mile High. But she also credits the state’s unique culture. “The community in terms of Colorado just has this perfect overlap of health and wellness and craft beer,” Hertz said. “With that overlap, Colorado was the perfect place for our beer.” Karen Hertz, founder of Holidaily Brewing Company, at the construction site of the new facility of Holidaily Brewing Company in Golden on April 16, 2019. A few miles north on Colorado 93,[cq comment=”cq”] Pedro Gonzalez, founder of Boulder-based New Planet Beer, is focused on growing his gluten-free brand exclusively through distribution. New Planet is a forerunner in the gluten-free brewing world. It launched in 2009,[cq comment=”cq”] six years after Gonzalez was diagnosed with Celiac disease. After brewing for years with sorghum,[cq comment=”cq”] New Planet reformulated all of its beers in 2015 and now uses ingredients like blue corn and Grouse Malt House millet. The company doesn’t release its barrel production figures, but Gonzalez said sales grew 3 percent in 2018, 1 percent off the broader craft beer industry’s 4 percent pace. It is now distributing in 10 states outside of Colorado, including Florida, Massachusetts and Michigan. Gonzalez said he expects 2019’s growth to land somewhere between 5 and 10 percent. There are differences between New Planet and Holidaily beyond business strategy. Holidaily is a “dedicated” gluten-free brewery, meaning nothing containing gluten passes through its doors. New Planet’s beer is made at Sleeping Giant Brewing,[cq comment=”cq”] a contract brewer in Denver. Its beers are classified as gluten-free and gluten-reduced under Food and Drug Administration guidelines, Gonzalez said. New Planet’s beer is less expensive. And the company goes lighter on grains than Holidaily, resulting in lower alcohol contents in its beers. Where Holidaily’s Fat Randy’s IPA is 7 percent alcohol by volume, on par with many gluten-containing IPAs, New Planet’s Seclusion IPA is just is 4.9 percent ABV. The decision to go for a lower ABV was intentional, Gonzalez says, and touches on trends in the beer and broader market. “What I’m seeing is that there has been a move toward lighter beers, lower calories, healthier ingredients,” Gonzalez says. “The consumer is sort of health and wellness driven. And, you know, people want to feel good the next day.” Decreasing taste for alcohol — particularly among young people — is making its presences felt in the beverage industry. In a presentation shared earlier this month with brewers who are members of the Boulder-based Brewers Association, market research groups Nielsen and Nielsen CGA[cq comment=”cq”] presented survey results that found 47 percent[cq comment=”cq”] of self-described regular alcohol consumers were making strong or moderate efforts to drink less. The demographic with the highest percentage of drinkers striving to limit their intake was people ages 21 to 34.[cq comment=”cq”] Health was the No. 1 reason participants were choosing to cut back. Colorado is routinely ranked among the healthiest — if not the healthiest — states in the country. That means a market opportunity for Connecticut-based Athletic Brewing Co. Co-founded by Bill Shufelt[cq comment=”cq”] and award-winning craft brewer Jon Walker,[cq comment=”cq”] Athletic makes nonalcoholic craft beer using a proprietary process. Ninety-five percent of the less-than-year-old company’s business comes through distribution, including direct-to-consumer shipping. Ten percent of the company’s sales thus far have been made in Colorado, Shufelt said. That’s despite Athletic only being on the shelves at one liquor store — Total Wine at 3905 E. Evans Ave., in Denver — and Colorado being the nation’s 21st largest[cq comment=”cq”] state by population. Shufelt and Walker came to Denver last week for the Craft Brewers Conference with aims to grow their local presence. It was the first year the conference had a seminar session dedicated to low or no ABV beers. “Everyone is looking at the same population and trying to sell them more beer,” Shufelt said. “And we feel there is an entirely different population out there. We really are just making beer for the modern, healthy, mindful adult.” [cq comment=”COULD CUT HERE FOR PRINT! “] Athletic isn’t alone. Molson Coors announced in 2017 that it was testing new varieties of nonalcoholic lagers. A bill signed by Gov. Jared Polis[cq comment=”cq”] earlier this year cleared the way for brewers in the state to make malt beverages with an alcohol content between 4 percent and 0.5 percent,[cq comment=”cq”] low ABV territory that previously required a separate license. Zaldana, of the Colorado Brewers Guild, expects a wave of light-on-alcohol “table beers” to hit taprooms across the state. Coors non-alcoholic beer at Argonaut Wine & Liquor on E. Colfax Ave. in Denver on Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017. [related_articles location=”right” show_article_date=”true” article_type=”curated” curated_ids=”3417159,2861337,3302387″] That doesn’t even touch on beer alternatives like hard ciders, hard seltzer drinks and hard teas, each of which represents small-but-growing segments of the beer sales market, according to Neilsen. Ciders lead the way with a 1.3 percent dollar share. Cannabis beverages like Arvada-based Ceria Brewing Co.’s line of THC-infused nonalcoholic beer also stand to take a bite. Julia Herz,[cq comment=”cq”] the Brewers Association’s craft beer program director,[cq comment=”cq”] is confident association members will be movers and shakers as the beer industry evolves. She pointed to a recent survey of members. “It was indicated that almost half were interested in brewing something other than beer,” Herz said. “Craft brewers have always been innovative. So that is very telling.” Colorado, with the third most craft breweries of any state at 348,[cq comment=”cq”] certainly has the tank space to be at the heart of it.
21 Apr 19
Twin Cities
I’m very wary of the “Medicare for all” plans put forward by Sen. Bernie Sanders and other Democrats. But after reading comments last week by UnitedHealth CEO David Wichmann about it, I may change my mind. Wichmann asserts that such a program would “jeopardize the relationship people have with their doctors, destabilize the nation’s health system and limit the ability of clinicians to practice medicine at their best.” Moreover, he says it “would surely have a severe impact on the economy and jobs.” Edward Lotterman Call me a skeptic, but it seems that is exactly what UnitedHealth and similar large insurer-administrators do right now, impose a drag on our economy and complicate — if not jeopardize — doctor-patient relationships. If you look comparatively between our health system and those of other industrialized democracies, the big difference is the amount we spend on administration. Much of this goes to big insurers like UnitedHealth, Anthem, Aetna or Cigna and in far higher pay to hospital managers or heads of other health service providers than elsewhere. More importantly, nowhere else in this comparison are there large businesses like UnitedHealth that consume anywhere near as much of total health spending as in our country. And while some other countries, including Switzerland, have health systems in which private insurers play key roles, none of them compensate their executives at anywhere near the scale of these U.S. firms. The six top-paid officers at UnitedHealth got a total of $26.5 million in cash compensation in 2017 and $66.5 million in total compensation. This sort of pay in the health care sector is unheard of elsewhere. The point is not to brand Wichmann, his colleagues and counterparts in similar companies as evil people. Rather, it is to explain how the role of UnitedHealth and its CEO’s comments illustrate two Nobel-winning concepts in economics. These are “path dependence” and “rent seeking.” Path dependence involves institutional or societal choices that are made and then become locked in. Even while at some initial point there may have been no particular advantage of one technical or choice over others, once a choice is made, it soon becomes difficult to switch to anything else. The QWERTY typing keyboard is an example. It is not the most efficient layout ergonomically and, some say, was chosen to minimize key jamming on old manual carriage typewriters at the expense of speed. Once chosen, however, and with most typists taught on and accustomed to it, shift to any other pattern would be extremely difficult and met with resistance. Similarly, the only reason that most railroad rails around the world are laid 56½ inches apart, is that was the distance English wagon builders used between wheels. Some say it even goes back to the distance between the wheels of Roman chariots. When coal mine owners ordered coal cars to be pulled on iron rails by horses, the wagon builders used the same spacing. Later, when steam locomotives came to replace horses, hundreds of coal cars built to “standard gauge” existed, so it only made sense to give the locomotives the same wheel spacing also. Once such a process begins, switching to a different gauge in the future or on connecting lines would effectively turn all previous rail cars useless. This can happen with institutions. There is no particular reason why households should get health insurance through employers. Many get other insurance coverage directly from for-profit firms or through such fraternal nonprofit organizations as Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association, the Uniformed Services Automobile Association, the Farm Bureau or myriad ones with denominational affiliations such as the forerunners of Thrivent. It was a historical accident that with government-imposed wage controls in the face of labor shortages in World War II, employers sweetened overall compensation by including health coverage. This persisted after the war and, combined with coverage labor unions got from employers in lieu of wage increases, expectations grew that one would get health insurance as benefit of a job. Once this expectation was widespread and accepted as the norm, shifting to a different — and perhaps more efficient — system became harder. Beginning in the 1980s, as health care costs began to burgeon, existing insurers morphed into health administration and new companies like UnitedHealth came into being. Employers wanted to cap costs. These new enterprises promised to do that. But when we include Medicare, Medicaid and related state-level government programs, we have over the years developed a muddled system, part public, part private, with little attention paid to limiting monopoly power or conflict of interest. There is much effort to shift costs around, but few incentives to control cost overall. Indeed, this added layer of private-sector bureaucracy ended up consuming a large fraction of overall health spending in sharp contrast to other high-income industrial countries. We need change, but we are dependent on the path we have let come into being. UnitedHealth and similar firms exist and are wealthy. They have much at stake in maintaining a system that requires their participation and protects their revenue streams, executives and shareholders. They are not going to quietly roll over and die. Which leads us to our second important economic concept: “rent seeking.” We are in a political age in which it is legal for businesses to lay out large amounts in political contributions. The big health insurers had a large voice in the debate over the Affordable Care Act nine years ago and will have a large voice now. In the 1960s, when the Johnson administration introduced Medicare legislation, it looked much like European socialized medicine. The American Medical Association was deeply opposed and used all its muscle to stop passage. Only after substantial revisions to meet the desires of the AMA did the law pass in 1965, establishing our current system. Ironically, Medicare ended up doing more to boost AMA-member physician incomes than anything else in the history of the country. So just as the relatively poor AMA existed 55 years ago, the wealthy health administration firms and big drug and medical device companies exist now. They are going to fight to maintain their wealth and power. This is just the way our system works. The concept of “rent seeking” begins with British economist David Ricardo 198 years ago. The term “rent” here refers to a payment that accrues to someone controlling a key resource — land in Ricardo’s day — but in a broader sense now. “Rent seeking,” as described by libertarian economist Gordon Tullock in the 1960s and expanded by his collaborator, Nobel laureate James Buchanan, consists of using political power to gain a monetarily profitable advantage that one would not enjoy in a free market. Everyone tries to do this at some level. Tow truck operators tried to end MNDOT’s Highway Helpers, who get stalled cars moving with a splash of gas or by changing a tire; sugar producers put enormous effort into maintaining the complex web of policies that keep sugar prices to consumers well above what they might be; barbers and cosmetologists try to put people professionally braiding hair or doing nails out of business unless they get licenses. In some cases, “rent seeking” and “path dependence” get combined. The renewable fuel standard is a net drag on the economy, but very popular with Midwest farmers. The fact that the Iowa caucuses are one of the first gateways in presidential elections is an accident of history, but it is now established. And so, to do well in Iowa’s farm country, and build momentum, myriad presidential hopefuls over the years have expressed their undying support of the renewable fuels program even though they perhaps lambasted it for years as members of congress. The caucuses are a path on which we are dependent and this fact bolsters rent seekers. However we change health care, whether with a sudden shift to “Medicare for all’ or via incremental change in existing law, “Big Pharma,” big device manufacturers, big hospital chains, big pharmacy benefit managers and big, complex insurers and plan administrators like UnitedHealth and Cigna are going to have voices, ones amplified by their economic weight. Regardless of where you stand on health issues, recognize that reality. St. Paul economist and writer Edward Lotterman can be reached at stpaul@edlotterman.com.
21 Apr 19
The Magnificat

by: Dan Sumat, Kaye Tolentino, and Portia Medina The University of the Assumption Senior High School (UASHS) was founded on the 6th day of November 2015. Some students may find Senior High School much challenging than what they have on their previous ones. It is why the school provided facilities that could help and guide […]

21 Apr 19
The Knife and me

….a great Russian symbolist Ricci was a success in his lifetime, and died in 1734. He’s one of those painters about whom there is probably little current enthusiasm, but the man had style. He was also quite an innovator. Here’s a brief summary, for interest: “Ricci, leaning at first on the example of splendid art […]

21 Apr 19
The Blog of Awesome Women

Rukmini Devi Arundale was a dancer and choreographer who revived and transformed a branch of classical Indian dance; she was also a theosophist and an activist for the welfare and rights of animals. Born to a high-caste Brahmin family in 1904 in Madurai, India, she was reared in Madras (modern Chennai), where she was exposed […]