The Wizards of Oil

From The Washington Post:

Three major oil industry executives agreed on one thing in a pair of Senate hearings Tuesday: Someone else was to blame for the drilling rig accident that triggered the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The senior executives from the oil behemoth BP, the offshore oil drilling company Transocean and the oilfield services contractor Halliburton pointed fingers at each other in seeking to explain what caused the accident that set afire and sank the Deepwater Horizon rig, killing 11 people.


BP blamed the failure of Transocean’s blowout preventer and raised a new question about whether Transocean disregarded “anomalous pressure test readings” just hours before the explosion. Transocean blamed decisions made by BP and cited possible flaws in the cementing job done by Halliburton. And Halliburton said that it had faithfully followed BP’s instructions and that Transocean had started replacing a heavy drilling mud with seawater before the well was sealed with a cement plug.

To the tune of If I Only Had a Brain, written by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg, as performed by the fabulous Ray Bolger:

Lamar McKay:

I sit here, oh so coyly, don’t know why the gulf’s so oily,
But I’m here to proclaim,
That I couldn’t say for certain,
But I think that Halliburton,
Is the company to blame.

Tim Probert:

I regret the fish are sick, but we didn’t cause the slick,
We think it’s such a shame,
Where did B.P. get that notion,
When it’s so clear that Transocean,
Is the place you oughta blame.

Steven Newman:

Wish I could tell you why, there’s oil up on the shore,
But I’m just your average sleazy corp’rate whore,
So I’ll just sigh, and lie some more!

All three:

‘Cause we think that you’re just bluffin’,
With your huffin’ and your puffin’,
You’re not int’rested in facts,

So forget our violations,
Keep our big campaign donations,
And go hassle Goldman Sachs.

Lawmakers opposed to wider offshore drilling said they were sadly vindicated. “The bottom line is: If you drill in the ocean, an oil spill cannot be a surprise,” Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) said. “All it takes is one oil spill to destroy a coastline.”

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) said, “One of my worst nightmares might be coming true.” Congress ought to consider raising the $75 million limit on oil companies’ liability for economic damages to $10 billion, he said.

Lawmakers who favor offshore drilling worried about the damage that could be done to public support. “We need the oil that comes from offshore to keep this economy moving,” Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) said, arguing that one-thousandth of 1 percent of oil produced had been spilled. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), the ranking Republican on the energy committee, said that “under anyone’s most optimistic scenario, our nation will need oil and gas for a long time to come.”

From Bloomberg Businessweek:

Senators examining the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion challenged Lamar McKay, chairman of BP America Inc., on plans to deal with the possibility of a spill and performance of a blowout preventer, intended to stanch the flow of oil.  BP had assumed the device would close, an executive said this week.

“BP certified that it had ‘the capability to respond to a worst-case discharge,’” Senator Robert Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey, said today at a Senate Energy Committee hearing. “What I see is a company not prepared to address the worst-case scenario but a company that is flailing around trying whatever they think of next.”


Lawmakers questioned regulation of the drilling industry, the equipment used in deepwater oil and natural gas wells and the operations on the rig before the blast. Officials from Transocean Ltd., owner of the rig, and Halliburton Co., hired by BP to cement the subsea well, also testified.

Senator Lisa Murkowski, a Republican from Alaska, asked why chemical dispersants used to break up oil as it flows from the well weren’t tested prior to the incident.

“It stuns me to think we know we’ll need to utilize dispersants in the event of a spill and yet we haven’t put in place the testing necessary,” Murkowski said. “We probably lost days here. It’s more than just a little bit frustrating.”

Senator Jeff Sessions, a Republican from Alabama, asked why the steel containment dome was built after the leak. BP’s first attempt to use the dome failed and the company will try again within a week by using a smaller containment cover, Chief Executive Officer Tony Hayward said.

“I’ve supported oil and gas development for a long time,” Sessions said. “We need to review our policies and only then can we feel confident that we can go forward effectively.”


Lawmakers also said BP, Transocean and Halliburton should stop singling each other out for responsibility in the blast.

“Transocean’s blowout preventer failed,” BP’s McKay said. Stephen Newman, chief executive officer of Swiss company Transocean, said the blowout preventer is a “secondary” way to control well pressure if the primary mechanism, using mud, fails. Tim Probert, president of global business lines for Houston-based Halliburton, said had the blowout preventer not failed, the “catastrophe” might have been avoided.

“There’s going to be plenty to time to try to figure out who is to blame,” Murkowski said. “I would suggest to all three of you that we are in his together.”

You sure are in this together, Lisa.  From Reuters:

 Like BP, both Transocean, which owned the rig, and
Halliburton, a contractor, also pumped money into the campaign
war chests of senators who sit on the Energy and Natural
Resources Committee and the Environment and Public Works
 Halliburton has given a total of $3.2 million to federal
candidates since 1990. Transocean and its pre-merger corporate
predecessors -- Sonat Offshore and Sedco Forex -- have
contributed $69,457.


All figures were compiled from campaign disclosure records by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES COMMITTEE ----------------------- SENATORS..........HALLIBURTON..... TRANSOCEAN (2005-2010) (1990-2010) (2005-2010) (1990-2010) DEMOCRATS: Jeff Bingaman...$ 0...$ 1,000.....$ 0......$ 0 Byron Dorgan.... 0... 0..... 0...... 0 Ron Wyden....... 0... 0..... 0...... 0 Tim Johnson..... 0... 0..... 0...... 0 Mary Landrieu... 5,500... 6,500..... 0...... 0 Maria Cantwell.. 0... 0..... 0...... 0 Robert Menendez. 0... 0..... 0...... 0 Blanche Lincoln. 2,000... 4,000..... 0...... 0 Evan Bayh....... 1,000... 2,000..... 0...... 0 Debbie Stabenow. 0... 0..... 0...... 0 Mark Udall...... 500... 500..... 0...... 0 Jeanne Shaheen.. 0... 0..... 0...... 0 DEM SUBTOTALS..$ 9,000...$14,000.....$ 0...... 0 INDEPENDENTS: Bernard Sanders.$ 0...$ 0.....$ 0......$ 0 REPUBLICANS: Lisa Murkowski..$ 5,000..$10,000.....$ 0......$ 0 Richard Burr.... 2,000.. 5,000..... 0...... 0 John Barrasso... 3,500.. 3,500..... 0...... 0 Sam Brownback... 0.. 11,000..... 0...... 0 James Risch..... 2,000.. 2,000..... 0...... 0 John McCain..... 3,901.. 8,901..... 1,750...... 1,750 Robert Bennett.. 3,000.. 15,500..... 0...... 0 Jim Bunning..... 0.. 10,000..... 0...... 0 Jeff Sessions... 2,000.. 12,000..... 0...... 0 Bob Corker...... 3,000.. 3,000..... 0...... 0 GOP SUB-TOTALS..$ 24,401.. 80,901.....$ 0......$1,750 PANEL TOTALS....$ 33,401..$94,901.....$ 1,750......$1,750 ENVIRONMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS COMMITTEE---------------------- SENATORS......... HALLIBURTON..... TRANSOCEAN (2005-2010) (1990-2010) (2005-2010) (1990-2010) DEMOCRATS: Barbara Boxer...$ 0..$ 0.....$ 0......$ 0 Max Baucus...... 0.. 2,000..... 0...... 0 Thomas Carper... 0.. 0..... 0...... 0 F. Lautenberg... 0.. 0..... 0...... 0 B. Cardin....... 0.. 0..... 0...... 0 Amy Klobuchar... 0.. 0..... 0...... 0 S. Whitehouse... 0.. 0..... 0...... 0 Tom Udall....... 0.. 0..... 0...... 0 Jeff Merkley.... 0.. 0..... 0...... 0 K. Gillibrand... 0.. 0..... 0...... 0 Arlen Specter... 0.. 7,000..... 0...... 0 DEM SUB-TOTALS..$ 0..$ 9,000.....$ 0......$ 0 INDEPENDENTS: Bernard Sanders.$ 0..$ 0.....$ 0......$ 0 REPUBLICANS: James Inhofe....$ 7,500..$24,300.....$ 0......$ 0 G. Voinovich.... 1,000.. 11,000..... 0...... 0 David Vitter.... 6,000.. 9,500..... 500...... 500 John Barrasso... 3,500.. 3,500..... 0...... 0 Mike Crapo...... 2,500.. 11,000..... 0...... 0 Kit Bond........ 0.. 10,000..... 0...... 0 Lamar Alexander. 2,500.. 9,500..... 0...... 0 GOP TOTALS.....$ 23,000..$78,800.....$ 0...... 0 PANEL TOTALS...$ 23,000..$87,800.....$ 500......$ 500 ============================================================= GRAND TOTALS...$ 56,401..$182,701....$ 2,250......$2,250 (BOTH PANELS)
Original images:
 Tin  Man
 Cowardly  Lion
 Lollipop  Guild


Filed under Bernie Sanders, Bill Nelson, Democrats, Evan Bayh, Halliburton, humor, Lisa Murkowski, Mary Landrieu, movies, music parody, parody, politics, Republicans, Sam Brownback, Senate, snark, Wordpress Political Blogs

42 responses to “The Wizards of Oil

  1. writechic

    Eat seafood while you can because no one but oil execs and their bought and paid for political types will be able to afford it in a couple of months…weeks?

    The robotic camera gets to the oil leak at about 2:00 in:

  2. GreenApples

    Top notch work! I didn’t know that you wrote lyrics too.

    I’m actually surprised the the figures are so low…and I don’t see some names I would expect to see.

    • thanks green apples! i haven’t written a song parody in quite a while. it’s one of the things i love to do. there are quite a few here. if you’re interested, the easiest way to find them is to go here. just look for my gravatar among the others. there are 3 pages, and the majority are mine.

      the figures are low, because there are limits to how much they can donate to specific candidates. they find loopholes galore, so you know those figures are just the tip of the iceberg. you don’t see a lot of names you think you would, only because that’s just a list of those who sit on the 2 senate committees that held the hearings.

  3. writechic

    Great work on the Oz characters, too, Nonnie. And the song. I actually chirped it out, but by the end of the news snips…bleh. This is so horrible. :-(

    • thanks, melissa! :) i was singing the song all last night and today, and now i can’t get it out of my head. that’s okay, because i’d rather sing than think about the mess in the gulf. :(

  4. the scarecrow has more brains that anyone at BP or Halliburton

    if this country only had a brain we would deport Murkowski, Sessions, Landreau and PALIN

    speaking of Nanook of the North – she is writing another book (mail her your crayons) and she should clean the gulf with a bendy straw

    we are so f’d

    • the scarecrow had better be really, really careful. it’s just a matter of time before someone suggests they throw him into the gulf to see if straw soaks up any oil. :?

  5. I was half-expecting McCain to be one of the Munchkins.

  6. Bravo Nonnie! Great lyrics.
    Just like the scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz, he criss crossed his arms & pointed in 2 different directions. Just like the 3 corporate drones testifying before congress.
    Whose fault is it?
    They all point the other way.

    How about the guy they sent from Halliburton in the goofy pinstripe suit– he was dressed to a T- he looked like a pimp- and he was there pimping Halliburton’s innocence.
    Just following orders. We did as we were told.
    So if they were told to do shoddy work & cut corners… then they are not liable??

    Let’s do them all a favor & save us a bunch of time – declare all of them responsible, therefore, they all have to face stiff fines, fees, penalties, and pay for the clean up.

    • thanks fran! :)

      i want someone to go to jail. not some lower-level shmuck who was only doing what his bosses wanted him to do. everyone is focusing on the oil spill but seem to forget that 11 people died because of negligence. that’s manslaughter or negligent homicide, and someone needs to pay for that. if corporations want to be treated like people, then they have to be punished like people are when they commit crimes.

  7. Funny stuff, oil. When first discovered in Texas at Spindletop the head pressure was so great they built up great lakes of crude. Overprodution drove the “hot oil” market down to a dime a barrel. And then it all caught fire! That was then….and these days we still poke a hole anywhere in this state you can find a pool underground but this is my observation from 1988 while vacationing on north Padre Island. Sitting on a 5th floor balcony at night I scanned the horizon and counted, by the lights, 32 platform rigs from my vantage point. The beach was all nice and clean. Those drillers were very carefull after the Ixtoc 1 disaster not to let bullshit like that happen again. Big difference is they sit on actual platforms that contact the earth for stability. The current mess is the first time I’ve heard of this float around nonsense. Anybody notice those PR ads from Exxon (?) that were all over the TV showing deepwater drilling with all the underwater umbilicals suddenly vanished? Next thing they’ll tell us it’s safe to drill from a hovering flying saucer mothership. Do it right or don’t do it at all!

  8. Forgot to compliment your songwriting abilties. Might need a Maria parody for Gov. Sanford and his hot Argentine girlfriend who were just down your way having a lost weekend. (that would explain that curious shaking last week) Was going to request Alan Shermans “Your Mothers here to stay” for Mothers Day but hesitated and not sure if you do requests. You can’t go wrong with an Oz theme even though Orly seems to have stolen all the flying monkeys. And the Tinman with a lube related logo reminds me of the funniest bit ever done on MadTV where the whole gang is around the balloon lifting of and Dorothy pipes up “What? All I had to do was click these shoes together? And I’ve been stuck here all this time with these homos!” while she proceeds to beat the shit out of anyone close to her and suddenly the Tinman wakes up with another Tinman behind him saying “having more of those bad Judy Garland dreams again? Relax while I oil you”!

    • thanks jerry. there are responsible ways to do things and irresponsible ways. it’s clear that the oil companies don’t give a damn about anything but profits, and don’t really care how irresponsible they are. therefore, we should look for energy sources that won’t cause catastrophes should something go awry. while there will always be accidents, a wind spill or a solar spill won’t do any damage to the environment for decades to come.

  9. JaxDem

    whOOt hOOt…
    so that’s what an open can of whoop ass looks like…
    Some of your best stuff nons ;D

  10. the loon

    hey kiddo. it’s obvious that you’re a ‘wiz’ at photoshop and parodies. you could be the betty white of snl if they had the intelligence to hire you.

    oh that’s right, they can’t afford you.

  11. Joanaroo

    In the Peter Sellers film The Mouse That Roared, the Grand Duchy of Fenwick takes on the U.S., namely New York City. They arrive with city leaders refusing to take them seriously, but with their bows and arrows they take on an unprepared city and only realize the situation when the Fenwick boys reveal their doomsday device. In this situation, Deepwater Horizon is the doomsday device and the 3 Doofuses (Doofi?) are the Fenwick boys.

  12. Joanaroo

    Oops! Left out a few details: Duchy of Grand Fenwick, first. And NYC is literally empty due to a disaster drill (Homeland Security), while the Fenwick boys help themselves to the doomsday device. The whole incident is due to Pinot Grand Fenwick wine (what the Grand Fenwick economy runs on) being mass produced in the US as Pinot Grand Enwick. So an unprepared US is taken over by a few men over a valuable liquid. And man, is the oil becoming a ticking time bomb!

    • the mouse that roared is one of my favorite books. i really should go to the library and read it again. the movie was funny, too, and it’s scary how much truth lies beneath the snark.

  13. Ever since my unfortunate incident in New Orleans where some locals sideswiped our rented minivan with the Texas plates, claimed neck and back injuries and sued me for $70,000, I’ve been a little down on the Gulf region in general.
    The one thing I’ll never stop loving about the area, however, is their treasure trove of succulent Gulf shrimp. Well, that is until this snafu.
    I don’t even eat tuna packed in *edible* oil–I’m not about to start eating shrimp packed in BP crude.
    I think the shrimpers and other fishermen in the region should get all liquored up on Dixie beer, then arm themselves with baseball bats, shovels, 2×4′s n’ shit and attend the next BP board meeting.

  14. Joanaroo

    I like that idea! Make it a Pay-Per-View called W.T.F.-Worldwide Tough Fishermen and the event called B.P.B.K- British Petroleum Butt Kicking!

  15. Joanaroo

    I’ve been so pissed with everything I’ve read and seen over the past month on the leak that I have to chill just a bit. I saw that idiot David I love prostitutes Vitter got some kickback and I saw that asshole shooting his mouth off today and thought That’s it! Why not attach a single hose around the broken pipe, run a section to a tanker and have on another end alot of those straw-like things like on those water toys have. With the suction power Vitter probably enjoyed on little Davy-let the ladies start suction-but not swallow!-and I’ll bet that oil remaining would run like wildfire to that tanker! When it gets full, transfer the hose to a new tanker!

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