I groaned when I saw the cover of the latest Newsweek — filled with the promise of more environmental silliness.

But I must admit that the lead story was pretty good. Sure, some of the ideas sound goofy. But the key is that most of the 10-page article dealt with private citizens and companies testing their ideas without resorting to public money or government regulation.

Writer Jerry Adler makes a brief mention of green government policies in Chicago and Austin, Texas. I’m in no position to debate the merits of those initiatives, but I presume voters in both communities would have a better chance of killing off wasteful local programs than trying to fight federal or state policies.

With those exceptions, I approached the other ideas with an open mind. If the developers of recycled-denim insulation can find a market for their product — without government intrusion — more power to them.

After reading that article, I figured there must be a catch. I was wrong. There were two.

First, there’s the sidebar that criticizes President Bush’s environmental policy. It seems some people can’t understand why a man who uses captured rain and wastewater for his ranch’s landscaping — not to mention an underground geothermal system for heating and air conditioning — wouldn’t use the coercive power of government to force more people to do the same.

“Whatever motivated him to build a green ranch before he was president hasn’t been translated at all into policy,” says Frances Beinecke of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Perhaps Beinecke can find a clue in the sentence that describes the president’s response to global warming.

Bush thinks new technologies?not treaties?can save the day.

Here’s the second catch. As if the magazine was trying to soften us up for the blow, the green issue ends with a column: “What We Need Is Policy.”

Writer Jane Bryant Quinn throws the whole market-based solution idea out the window. If only the magazine’s printer could have skipped that page.