Energy

For My Next Song, I'd Life to Play a Little Number About Energy Independence From Foreigners, and It Goes Something Like This…(Worst Song Ever Candidate Edition)

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If you're like me or any real American, when you get an email with a subject line that reads "Newt and Aarton [sic] Tippin team up to do a song about drilling," you drop your baby, even one with special needs, and click straight through like Sherman marching across Georgia.

The message was sent by former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich's group American Solutions for Winning the Future, an outgrowth (tumor?) of Newt's older group, Winning the Future. The page in question contains the lyrics to the Aaron Tippin song "Drill Here, Drill Now," and it goes something like this:

Hello…..Is anybody out there listenin' in Washington D.C.
This is the suffering voice of America crying out for relief
Now I don't know what a gallon of gas costs up on Capitol Hill
But we sure know what it costs down here in Realityville
And the damage already done has been a mighty heavy toll
And if we're gonna fix it we gotta start right here at home

CHORUS:
Drill here, drill now
How 'bout some oil from our own soil that belongs to us anyhow
No more debatin' we're tired of waitin' everybody shout out loud
Drill here, drill now

Every time a foreign tanker pulls up to our shore
They got us over a barrel while they bleed us a little more
And think how much it costs just to bring it all that way
And how many American jobs that'd make if we were drillin' in the USA
Oh and God forbid if our oily friends should decide to cut us off
We'd be standin' around with our britches down now listen to me ya'll

REPEAT CHORUS

Well the winds of change are blowin'
Yes and we recognize that need
But tractors, trucks, cars and planes can't run on tomorrow's dreams
So while we're workin' on the future we can't ignore today
Cuz who knows how much time the alternative might take
Somethin's gotta be done right now cuz friends it won't be long
Before this great big country comes grinding to a halt

A free preview of the song is available here (though the whole ditty costs 99 cents, which I'd rather spend on A-rab gas, to be frank). I think it is safe to say that if "Drill Here, Drill Now" had been around back in the 1990s, and had been used instead of "Achy-Breaky Heart" in the Waco standoff, the Branch Davidians might have actually surrendered.

And I say that as a free-trader who doesn't reflexively dismiss songs about energy independence. Indeed, one of my all-time fave albums is Bob Dylan's Slow Train Coming, released during an earlier oil shortage (and end-of-times moment), whose title track avers:

All that foreign oil controlling American soil,
Look around you, it's just bound to make you embarrassed.
Sheiks walkin' around like kings, wearing fancy jewels and nose rings,
Deciding America's future from Amsterdam and to Paris
And there's a slow, slow train comin' up around the bend.

For whatever reason, pumping gas bought on a world market from our "oily friends" is a part of "Realityville" that just doesn't pluck my banjo, or make me embarrassed, or conjure up images of my "britches" falling down. And while I'm foursquare behind domestic energy production if it makes economic sense, I just can't get behind (or spare a dollar on) message songs that really suck.

Especially when Charlie Daniels' classic anti-Iranian hostage crisis is still free and covers enough ground to apply to the whole Middle East still (Arabs, Persians, I'm guessing it's not too important a distinction for the genre):

For the first searing glimpse into the dark, hardened heart of Arab hypocrisy toward the West (and transistor radios), repair to Ray Stevens' "Ahab the Arab."

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  1. God forbid if our oily friends should decide to cut us off

    We continue to import most of our petroleum from those “oily friends” to the north and south, Canada and Mexico. I’m more worried about a jalapeno pepper embargo.

  2. I’m more worried about a jalapeno pepper embargo.

    agreed.

    but! don’t forget about the tequila shortage and the potential consequences!

    that’s pretty bad, too!

  3. 1 year of America’s oil usage in ANWR.

    Estimate 40 years to extract =1/40 of America’s annual oil usage.

    Oil from ANWR would be sold on the world market. America uses 1/4 of the world’s oil = 1/160 of annual global annual usage. Total annual increase in supplies, intended to reduce oil prices? 0.625%, assuming neither America’s not any other countries’ oil consumption increases over that 40 year period.

    Claiming drilling as the solution to high oil prices is a scam.

  4. You’re a scam, joe, but that’s redundant.

  5. “Claiming drilling as the solution to high oil prices is a scam.”

    uh huh! sure is!

    but the party of “personal responsibility” wants to support its SUV or the hyper-?ber patriotic Hummer (I mean the car, sillies) habit

    but the tequila shortage hier is very real!!!!!

  6. Shorter ed “Math is hard!”

  7. Canadians are oily?

    “I was the last one left after the nuclear holocaust, eh. The whole world had been destroyed, like U.S. blew up Russia and Russia blew up U.S. Fortunately, I had been offworld at the time. There wasn’t much to do. All the bowling alleys had been wrecked. So’s I spent most of my time looking for beer.”

  8. uuuuu ruuu kuuuu kuuuuu
    kuuuuu kuuuu kuuuu kuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu

  9. Fleshy-headed mutant! Are you friendly?

  10. Radiation has made me an enemy of civilization!

  11. Joe,

    You’re not an economist or a geologist. There are more places to drill in America besides Alaska. And even the geologists don’t know what proportion of American oil has gone unexploited because of limitations on exploration.

    For goodness’s sake, joe, have some humility. It will keep you from saying foolish things like “drilling as the solution to high oil prices is a scam.”

    You’re not a fool, joe, so it makes me cringe when you say things that are dumb as hell.

  12. We – and I mean ‘we’ in a decentralized way – should look for local ethanol. It’s a premium 105 octane fuel source, and offers tremendous yields from common waste sources. The subsidy is not needed; and corn is a mediocre feedstock. (Whoops, there goes the most common oil-company propaganda arguments against it.) Learn more at http://www.alcoholcanbeagas.com or read the book with the same title. http://www.alcoholcanbeagas.com/

  13. Thank you for sharing your feelings, Stokeley. Any time you want to point out the flaws in my argument, just…you know…shout it out.

    I’m not going to hold my breath. Rather, I’ll use it to say:

    And that’s just the price of the oil, which is about 2/3 (IIRC) of the price of gasoline at the pump. So now we’re talking about somewhere south of 1/2 of 1% of an increase in supply, during a period of rising global demand.

    C’mon, Stokeley: Give me an S!

    Give me a C!

    Give me an A!

    Give me an M!

    What’s that spell? What’s that spell!?!

  14. joe,

    I don’t believe your math and words. Aaron Tippin wouldn’t lie to me.

    Seriously, are you going to refute other country songs? Should mommas actually allow their babies to grow up to be cowboys?

  15. Am I the only one that is now lustily picturing joe in a cheerleader outfit?

  16. Am I the only one that is now lustily picturing joe in a cheerleader outfit?

    You don’t do that all the time?

  17. I always have imagined joe as wearing skirts, to tell you the truth.

  18. Why not get Miley Cyrus to do a video for “Drill here, Drill now”? Oh, she’s not 18 yet?

  19. It really should be up to the state of AK whether they want that oil out of the ground or not.

    But why not drill it? I would not be surprised if Putin decided to try angle drilling it out from under us someday. That’s ours and we should get it.

    And getting more oil on the market is a good thing. Even if the increased supply won’t have an effect on prices (something that can’t really be proven), the fact that we are drilling would cause the price of oil to go down via teh speculators. Heck even as congress shows more openness to drilling the price of Dated Brent Spot is now under $100.

  20. You’re not an economist or a geologist. There are more places to drill in America besides Alaska. And even the geologists don’t know what proportion of American oil has gone unexploited because of limitations on exploration.

    There may be oil under that suburb, but the people that live there aren’t going to want derricks going up on their half-acre front yards.

  21. I always have imagined joe as wearing skirts, to tell you the truth.

    I always imagined him wearing pearl necklaces.

  22. I would not be surprised if Putin decided to try angle drilling it out from under us someday.

    Putin: I drink your milkshake!

  23. In Russia, monkey spanks you!

  24. Canadians are oily?

    You know, lots of the Canadian oil is coming from oil sands in frozen, boring-as-shit Alberta. That might make Canadians sandy. And cold. And bored*. But probably not oily.

    *Forgot to mention rich. People with no experience in the industry are going up there and pulling 6 figures (ahem, pre-tax, of course).

  25. And also: lucky me, I guess I haven’t heard any country music in a while. When did it become acceptable to pass off monotonous, growly shouting/chanting as the basis for an actual song?

  26. I made the mistake of following the link to the Ray Stevens tune. Now I’m COMPLETELY torn…do I get the Lyrics Download or the Feministing mudflaps for my monster truck?

  27. Putin: I drink your milkshake!

    Don’t bully me, Vladimir!

  28. That might make Canadians sandy. And cold. And bored*.

    I’m going to take a guess at what they do to combat the boredom and cold, and it’s not playing Parcheesi.

  29. it’s not playing Parcheesi.

    After a thorough, sand-removing shower, natch.

    Also, you’ve clearly never played the Canadian dirty version of Parcheesi.

  30. Also, you’ve clearly never played the Canadian dirty version of Parcheesi.

    And now I am intrigued.

  31. 40 years to extract? You sure bout’ that son?

  32. Yes yes yes YES YES Y…Y…YAHTZEE!

  33. 40 years to extract? You sure bout’ that son?

    Nope. A guesstimate based on the performance of the North Slope. It’s probably not ten, and it’s probably not 100.

  34. Overtly political songs almost always suck. This is a constant regardless of the political view they express.

    The arguments that we shouldn’t drill in the ANWR because there isn’t really much there suggest to me a guy who’s given the mission to take a dump truck to the beach and fill it with sand, and then looks at each grain of sand, saying, “Well, this one is so tiny it wouldn’t make a difference to put it in the truck…and this one is so tiny it won’t help fill up the truck…and THIS one is so tiny it won’t fill the truck…”

    Personally, I think maybe we should let some crazy dudes do their own research on whether it’s worthwhile to drill there, and then if they decide maybe it’s worth it they can risk their own money, and other people who think they might be on to something can also risk their money on it, and the rest of us don’t have to, but then I tend to go for wacky schemes like that.

  35. YES YES Y…Y…YAHTZEE!

    I’m not convinced that even dirty Yahtzee would be entertaining. It’s a start, at least.

    And now I am intrigued.

    We’re forced to get creative with activities that don’t require electricity (for when the snow inevitably downs the power lines, as it did for three days during my trip last Xmas).

  36. During the Republican platform meeting at the last convention, some delegates suggested the offshore oil should be reserved for American use. The free-trade supporters stood up against that. It’s difficult to predict how much gas prices will drop from off shore drilling, but I can say two things for sure.

    1) Keeping resources locked up for ever means that no one will ever benefit from them. A slow extraction rate means saving some oil for future generations. An extraction rate of zero means future generations will never benefit from the oil.

    2) ANWR holds about a billion times more oil than a single SUV tank does. Whatever effect opening ANWR will have on global oil markets, the effect of eliminating one SUV from the road will be about a billion times smaller. When an environmentalist criticizes an SUV owner, he shows that the threshold for taking action is much lower than the importance of opening ANWR.

  37. There may be oil under that suburb, but the people that live there aren’t going to want derricks going up on their half-acre front yards.

    You obviously haven’t been to Fort Worth since the Barnett Shale gas deposit was discovered.

    I’m going to take a guess at what they do to combat the boredom and cold, and it’s not playing Parcheesi.

    Umm, drilling?

  38. Personally, I think maybe we should let some crazy dudes do their own research on whether it’s worthwhile to drill there, and then if they decide maybe it’s worth it they can risk their own money, and other people who think they might be on to something can also risk their money on it, and the rest of us don’t have to, but then I tend to go for wacky schemes like that.

    This is an argument about the economic viability of drilling in ANWR, and nobody’s questioning that. I’m sure a lot of money can be made drilling in ANWR. As an economic development/job creating/wealth creating measure, there’s a strong argument to be made for it.

    But my comment was about the effect on gas prices.

  39. FWIW, Chevron USA drilled a test well somewhere in ANWR a couple decades ago. It is capped, and reads, “chevron usa,” and they aren’t saying what they found. Incidentaly, the footprint from the rig is still plainly visible all these years later.

  40. But my comment was about the effect on gas prices.

    Could we say, for each individual well being drilled, “well, this well can’t possibly affect the price at the pump, so we shouldn’t drill it?” If so, could we aggregate wells, and say, “well, these ten/hundred/thousand wells couldn’t possibly affect the price at the pump, etc.?

    I guess my real question is, what drilling project could you justify if your criteria is affecting the price at the pump? If this criteria rules out bringing a billion barrels on-line, what project would it allow?

  41. Texas refineries are off line temporarily, because of the hurricane. This temporary drop in demand caused crude oil prices to dip today. I estimate that Texas refineries process 5 Million barrels of crude oil per day, give or take a million. If we tapped into ANWR, offshore drilling, and oil in Western federal lands, how many barrel per day would come online?

  42. Brotherbean has a nice point there, I agree.

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