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Making Dallas Even Better

The Late First Baptist Dallas Pastor W.A. Criswell Was Pro-Choice

Politico Magazine has a fascinating story on the rise of the Religious Right and its true origins. Contrary to popular belief, the movement’s genesis isn’t Roe v. Wade — it’s Green v. Connally. A year after the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its landmark ruling that protects a woman’s right to have an abortion, the Southern Baptist Convention affirmed its commitment “to work(ing) for legislation that will allow the possibility of abortion under such conditions as rape, incest, clear evidence of severe fetal deformity, and carefully ascertained evidence of the likelihood of damage to the emotional, mental, and physical health of the mother.”

None other than W.A. Criswell, First Baptist Dallas’ pastor, Robert Jeffress’ mentor, and a former president of the Convention, said, “I have always felt that it was only after a child was born and had a life separate from its mother that it became an individual person and it has always, therefore, seemed to me that what is best for the mother and for the future should be allowed.”

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Don’t Expect Texas to Actually Do Anything About Earthquakes

There exists in the Texas House of Representatives a Subcommittee on Seismic Activity, which isn’t something you’d think would exist in this state. But it does, and it’s chaired by Denton’s Rep. Myra Crownover. She convened a hearing Monday to discuss the earthquakes that have rattled the southeast corner of Parker County, around Reno and Azle — an area that, until November of last year, had never reported a single felt tremor. It has had dozens now, and the United States Geological Survey suspects it has something to do with disposal wells near the epicenters, where many millions of gallons of waste water from gas wells are pumped nearly two miles beneath the surface, into the Ellenburger Formation. The phenomenon is the subject of a feature story in this month’s issue of D.

It sounds like the height of hubris to claim that humans can cause the earth’s crust to shudder and release unfathomable energies. But we’ve been doing it for decades, here in Texas and elsewhere. The only difference now — the only reason there’s a subcommittee — is that the shaking is happening near a slightly more populous area than in swarms past, and the fears of the people in Parker County can no longer be ignored. Not that the state oil and gas regulator didn’t try at first.

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Star-Telegram’s Sunday Feature on the Keystone XL Pipeline Fell Far Short

The Texas Supreme Court declined last week to hear the case of Julia Trigg Crawford, an East Texas landowner who challenged the right of a Canadian oil pipeline corporation to condemn her land. That, I’m guessing, is the news peg the Star-Telegram used to hang a broad Sunday feature on the controversy surrounding the Keystone XL pipeline. It’s a complicated subject to tackle. At least in this telling, the Star-T wasn’t equal to the task. I feel for the deadline-harried reporter at a retrenching daily who probably did the best she could while juggling a handful of other stories. But I fear for the reader even more.

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Tom Blanton, CEO of Fracking Concern Currently Suing Dallas, Has Died

Tom Blanton stepped out of his home on Eagle Mountain Lake for his morning walk and never came back. He died along the way of a heart attack at 67 years old. Two weeks later, Trinity East, his oil and gas company, sued for the $19 million it paid a cash-strapped City of Dallas back in 2007 for the right to drill and frack the gas-suffused shale beneath.

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