'No on 23' Campaign Uses Politically Incorrect Banjo Song to Attack Texas Oil Companies

The most prominent political action committee fighting passage of Proposition 23, which would suspend climate-change legislation approved by California in 2006, has published a new banjo-music video online that attacks the out-of-state oil interests helping to fund the initiative.

The video -- you can play it above -- spoofs the folk song "The Yellow Rose of Texas," offering a version titled "Valero Oil of Texas." It is being broadcast by the No on 23 committee, and was recorded at Skyline Studios in Oakland. Valero Energy Corporation, based in San Antonio, has given more than $1 million to the campaign to pass Prop. 23, according to state campaign-finance records.

It's worth noting that for a cherished environmental campaign of the left, the choice of "The Yellow Rose of Texas" is an odd one. The song's original lyrics and historical context are what might politely be called politically incorrect.

It was a favorite of Confederate Army soldiers during the Civil War, and was originally written about a mixed-race slave woman who had sex with a Mexican general throughout the battle of San Jacinto, distracting him and causing his troops to lose. Here's one passage:

She's the sweetest rose of color
This darky ever knew
Her eyes are bright as diamonds
They sparkle like the dew

Suffice it to say that there are no antiquated racial epithets in the No on 23 version, which assails Valero:

You want to make a profit
From smogging up our skies
But the California voters
Are on to all your lies.
Asked about the song's history, No on 23 spokesman Steven Maviglio said, "I don't think we were aware of that." He added, "We changed the lyrics completely."

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