Key concepts: Viridian art contest in magazines, Texas
energy news, utility market competition

Attention Conservation Notice: It's about regional American energy policy, with a brief sidelight about Viridian art.

Entries in the Viridian Summer Health Warning Contest:

This contest is now closed.
A winner will be announced shortly.

As I remarked earlier concerning the many artful entries in this Summer Health Warning contest, "This would probably make a lovely two-page magazine spread of some kind, if not for the sheer tedium of contacting all the artists and engaging in pernickety contract negotiations over copyright issues."

Jay Babcock (*) agrees. "I would be happy to run such a two-page magazine spread in the magazine I'm now editing == Mean magazine, a full-color, glossy, 80-page, internationally distributed, quarterly magazine, devoted to, er, hipster and subversive pop subculture. If you know magazines, think 'Grand Royal' plus 'Mojo' plus 'Film Threat.' Brand new issue has a 22- page Peter Sellers cover feature. Our next issue comes out in late November, then we're going bimonthly in 2000.

Jay Babcock continues: "Like yourself, I don't have the time/energy to do twenty-plus email negotiations, contracts, payments, etc. My hunch was these fine Viridian artists would be into doing this FOR FREE. I'd be happy to handle all the individual emails/TIFFs/etc. that might come my way. It's for a good cause. We at MEAN are not a money-making magazine (far from it!), so we can scarcely be accused of capitalizing off their artistic efforts. It seems to me that getting this stuff published in a full-color mag fulfills some part of the Viridian mission."

(((Bruces continues: We're into dodgy territory once again, so here's the deal. We Viridians traditionally flinch at encouraging these well-meaning, pro bono, public-spirited contest efforts on the Internet, and then turning them into sordid, revenue-generating, real-world publications. It's not the money, believe me. There never is very much money, and even a lot wouldn't be half enough to repay the ghastly administrative burden of all that attention.

(((Nevertheless, those fine posters would make a rather handsome magazine spread. So, the decision is up to you == not me, and not Jay Babcock. If you designed one of those lovely posters, and you want to have your work featured in MEAN magazine FOR NO PAY, that is YOUR DECISION. You'll have to contact Jay Babcock YOURSELF (, and you have to tell him it's all right.

(((If enough of you artists choose to do this, we'll presumably have a lovely Viridian spread in this glossy magazine. If you're not paying attention, though, it won't happen.)))

Viridian Individual Projects:

*Viridian T-shirts for sale, $15 each

(((A new state law went into effect in Texas yesterday. It introduces something akin to market competition into the state's vast, sprawling utility business.)))

"September 1, 1999

"U.S. Newswire via NewsEdge Corporation : AUSTIN, Texas, Aug. 31 /U.S. Newswire/ == Few bills passed by the 76th Texas Legislature will affect as many Texans as Senate Bill 7, the Electric Competition Act. The law goes into effect Sept. 1 (...)

"The Electric Competition Act, which both houses of the Legislature passed with overwhelming majorities, requires most investor-owned utilities to freeze rates on September 1, 1999, until January 1, 2002. At that time, residential customers will receive a 6 percent rate reduction.

"The rate freeze is the first of many steps the industry will take while making the transition to a fully competitive retail electric market. (...) Electric restructuring has also spurred new investment in Texas, generating capacity as well as aggressive plans to meet new environmental standards.

"State officials predict a significant population growth in the years to come, which will create a growing demand for electricity. According to the PUC, approximately 30 electric generating facilities are either under construction or planned for the near future.

"The Electric Competition Act requires electric utility companies to eliminate 50 percent of nitrogen oxides and 25 percent of sulfur dioxide emissions statewide == the equivalent of removing almost 4 million vehicles from Texas roads. The law requires electric companies to achieve these reductions from grandfathered plants by May 1, 2003, or cease operations of those plants."

(((What does this opaque screed mean? If it turns out to be significant, it's not because markets are a social panacea. It's mostly interesting because in the State of Texas, traditionally, Big Oil is the state government. There has never been any realistic division between the interests of Texan government and the oil industry.

(((But nowadays, booming Texas is a net energy-importing state. Our reliance on other people's oil costs us a lot of money. Texas also has a rapidly expanding population, and excellent wind and solar resources. Thanks to this law, a crack has opened in the Texan oil/government magalith, and it should now become physically possible for Texans to buy green energy. And if that can become law here, it can happen anywhere. We'll be watching developments.)))

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