08/14/2006 03:58 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Keeping It Simple

Missouri is probably the purplest of the purple states. So it's bad news for the Republicans that incumbent Senator Jim Talent is trailing his challenger, State Auditor Claire McCaskill, 45 to 42 percent and is well below the critical 50 percent mark where incumbents almost have to be in August to feel comfortable.

But it's worse news that McCaskill is the kind of solid, commonsense candidate that Missouri likes, and that she's tackling Talent head on about energy issues in a way that must drive his campaign manager nuts. At a recent fundraiser I watched McCaskill describe how, when her campaign van pulls into truck stops to refuel, her mother, 77-year-old Betty Ann, (the first women elected to the Columbia City Council) gets out and walks around the pump islands with her cane. Going up to a customer pumping she smiles at him, peers up at the rapidly flashing dollar signs whizzing past, and remarks, "Guess that George Bush is an oil man, all right." As Claire says, she and her mother "like to keep it simple." And simple she keeps it. One newspaper report described McCaskill's message this way:

"Federal energy policy gives too much away to big oil companies and shortchanges renewable fuel production, U.S. Senate candidate Claire McCaskill said Wednesday."

If only all the candidates on our side were willing to be so direct!

This Is What the Scientists Told Us Global Warming Would Be Like

A new report by Environmental Defense shows that the combination of sea-level rise and more intense hurricanes could flood major cities like Miami; Charleston, SC; and Wilmington, NC; as well as New Orleans. Even a category-3 hurricane under today's conditions, with a typical storm surge of 9 to12 feet, would flood all of Miami Beach and much of downtown Miami.

And This Is What We Can Do About It

Columbia, Missouri, Betty Ann McCaskill's home town, has just signed an agreement to begin buying electricity from a wind farm in nearby King City. "It's a great opportunity, and it's neat to be included in the first wind project in the state of Missouri," said Dan Dasho, director of Water and Light. "It's great because it's a Missouri resource." The city acted in response to a state city ordinance that some of its power be renewable. "The city council also will consider a separate bill that would authorize the purchase of about 3 megawatts of electricity generated from a landfill gas generator in Jefferson City. A similar facility will be built at the Columbia landfill, and both generators could begin providing electricity to the city in 2008."