Short takes for Nov. 22

More on SMSU athletics

THUMBS UP: It might be getting redundant, but there is no understating everything that has been accomplished by the Southwest Minnesota State University fall athletic teams in 2013. The upstart women’s soccer team plays in the NCAA Division II Region Championship today after two upset wins, and the football team, featured earlier this week in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, recently learned it will be going to the program’s first bowl game in school history. That’s big, history-making stuff, folks.

What a waste

THUMBS DOWN: The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s recent report on what we throw away is alarming and, to be honest, rather embarrassing. The study showed that the amount of organic food Minnesotans threw away from 2000-2012 was up 21 percent, and the amount of plastic we pitch has increased 7 percent. The report also estimates that last year Minnesotans threw out 21,000 tons of recyclable plastic bottles and 12,000 tons of aluminum cans. We’re supposed to all be stewards of the land, are we not? We can do better. Much better.

Health care controversy

contagious, seeps into Minnesota

THUMBS DOWN: It appears as if controversy surrounding the Affordable Care Act has caught up to Minnesotans, even though the state is running its own health care exchange. Gov. Mark Dayton on Monday said that Minnesotans will not be able to keep their existing insurance coverage under the federal health care law, despite saying last week that he supported President Barack Obama’s plan to allow it. It looks as if Dayton’s flip was inspired by a letter sent to him from a group representing major health care providers. Julie Brunner with the Minnesota Council of Health Plans said the move would have driven up insurance costs. This Thumbs Down isn’t necessarily a jab at the governor, who made his decision based on what he believed were legitimate concerns from a reliable source, but more at Obamacare as a whole. It was broken from the start and hasn’t been fixed yet.