Jesus Christ tells man to steal an ambulance. Man complies.

Jesus Christ, what a kidder. Whether it’s drawing crude artworks of himself in bakery products or telling folks to do something really stupid, he can’t seem to stop yanking people’s chains.

His latest jape was to convince some poor idiot down in Houston, Texas that he should steal an ambulance:

Jesus was my co-pilot! And co-conspirator! And the brains behind this operation! It's all his fault! Really!

Jesus was my co-pilot! And co-conspirator! And the brains behind this operation! It’s all his fault! Really!

Suspect arrested: ‘Jesus Christ told me to steal an ambulance’.

The Houston Fire Department said the ambulance was stolen from 2121 Main Street near West Gray Street around 10 a.m.

The ambulance was recovered about 30 minutes later at Waugh and Gray Street, where it crashed into a 3 Men Movers truck.

“I was upstairs working and I heard a loud bang,” said Randy Bingham, a witness. “I’ve never seen an ambulance involved in a collision like that, especially the way that it happened.”

[…]¬†“Lord Jesus Christ told me to steal the ambulance,” he told a KHOU 11 News photographer.

The article is brief and doesn’t mention where Jesus told the man to take the ambulance or what he was supposed to do with it once he got there, but when the Son of God tells you to do something then, by God, you do it.

No word on who the suspect was or what they’re doing with him, but I suspect he’s probably undergoing psychiatric evaluation right about now and therein lies the point I’m about to make for the upteenth time: Why would anyone who believes in God automatically assume this guy must be crazy to think Jesus would tell him to steal an ambulance?

definitionofreligionThe Bible contains several examples of God instructing his followers to do some pretty crazy things like drag your kid up the mountain and slit his throat and build a big fucking boat and load up two of every kind of animal because I’m about to piss all over humanity’s parade like you’ve never seen before. Sure, it doesn’t make a lot of sense for God to ask some random dude to steal an ambulance, but it probably didn’t make a lot of sense to folks watching Noah at the time either. Who are you to say God didn’t command¬†him to steal an ambulance? How would you know God didn’t demand it? What kind of divine punishment will you be bringing about by stopping this guy from stealing that ambulance?

That’s the problem with saying you buy into the nonsense in the Bible. You lose all credibility in situations like this where someone lays claim to acting on divine instructions. You can’t prove that his isn’t. You can’t know for certain that whatever stupid thing he claims God demands he do isn’t something God wanted him to do. If an action dictated by God is good by the very nature of the source then punishing him for stealing the ambulance would be wrong. How can you justify it given the nature of the stuff that God has asked people to do in the past?

Gov. Perry asks Texans to pray for rain. God says “fuck you.”

Pic of Jesus flipping the bird.

Don't you understand? Those wildfires are part of my ineffable plan!

If you’ve been paying attention to the news then you’ve probably heard that Texas has been on fire, literally, for over a week now. With some 8,000 wildfires, the state is breaking records it would rather not in terms of yearly wildfires. So naturally Governor Rick Perry sprang into decisive action to deal with this ongoing crisis. What did he do, you ask? Did he rollback the cuts to fire departments that he and the Republican legislators had worked so hard on and then go a step further and supply emergency funding to train more firemen?

Nothing so useful. Instead, he opted to do the least useful thing possible: He asked Texans to pray for rain:

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) has declared “the three-day period from Friday, April 22, 2011, to Sunday, April 24, 2011, as Days of Prayer for Rain in the State of Texas.”

And in a proclamation issued today, Perry says “I urge Texans of all faiths and traditions to offer prayers on that day for the healing of our land, the rebuilding of our communities and the restoration of our normal and robust way of life.”

As Perry notes, “Texas is in the midst of an exceptional drought, with some parts of the state receiving no significant rainfall for almost three months, matching rainfall deficit records dating back to the 1930s.”

And, more than 8,000 wildfires “have cost several lives, engulfed more than 1.8 million acres of land and destroyed almost 400 homes.”

Because that strategy worked so well in 2007 for Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue. The only way he could have been less useful is if he’d stuck his thumbs up his ass and sang a hosanna.

God, in his non-existent way, gave a big Fuck You to Texas by dumping so much rain on other parts of the country that the levees in parts of Missouri have failed putting towns at risk of severe flooding. Oh, and as a added treat, he also smashed the living shit out of several states with multiple tornadoes just for the fun of it.

Granted, some parts of Texas did see a little rain fall on Monday which did help ease some of the trouble, but they’re already being warned that this week could see a whole new set of fresh blazes breaking out:

Marq Webb, a public information officer with the Texas Forest Service, told msnbc.com Monday that a “dry line” of weather, with winds of 50 mph and low humidity, was expected to move across the state from the south-west Monday.

He said people living west of a line from the Dallas-Forth Worth area to Del Rio should be prepared to evacuate at short notice.

The fresh outbreak of fires was expected after the weather gave a brief respite.

“We’ve had a few days of relief on many of the large fires we have been working on,” Webb told msnbc.com by phone. “We have been able to make a lot of progress on containment and control on a number of large fires over the last few days.”

“However, a dry line will push in from the west today (Monday) … It’s an extremely critical day. The next three days through Wednesday are going to be critical weather days,” he added.

“We’re gearing up to go back to new fires,” Webb said, adding: “If people are told to evacuate, they don’t need to question that, they just need to evacuate.”

That God is such a kidder! Here, have a little rainfall in answer to your prayers! Wait, I forgot that had to go to Missouri so here, have a new batch of wildfires instead!

With that kind of help, perhaps they should be praying that God doesn’t intervene. Or, better yet, perhaps they should reconsider slashing the funding for firefighters in Texas.

Naaaahhhh, that would require spending money when it’s so much more easy (and profitable) just to pray.

If you live in Texas and ask me to fix your computer, the answer is no.

Not because of the distance involved, I’ve done long-distance trouble shooting and repair using just Remote Assistance on many occasions, but because in Texas you have to be a licensed private eye to do computer support:

According to the law passed in the 2007 Texas legislative session, the private investigator’s license is required for repair technicians to analyze their customers’ computer data. This analysis is common for business managers who wish to track their employees’ computer usage or families who want to find out where their children or spouses have been online, said Matt Miller, executive director of the institute.

“Anyone that analyzes computer data has conducted this regulated service and needs a license,” Miller said.

Rife said he determines how computer viruses originate by evaluating private data. He frequently repairs family computers that have viruses and is often asked to discover if a family member’s account caused the virus.

If a computer repair technician conducts a computer service that the government considers an investigation, the technician could be subject to a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a $4,000 fine. This law also considers consumers who knowingly enlist an unlicensed company to perform an investigative repair subject to the same penalties.

And if you live in Texas and do computer repair and aren’t a licensed private eye then you’re breaking the law as well. Fortunately an advocacy group down there called “The Institute for Justice” is suing on the grounds that the law is unconstitutional, but for the moment certain PC repairs could make you an outlaw.

Time Warner Cable in Texas is testing out bandwidth caps on new subscribers.

Several folks sent along links to this Broadband Reports article about plans by Time Warner Cable try out hard bandwidth caps with possible overage charges in Texas:

Time Warner Cable may be exploring the possibility of implementing overage charges for its RoadRunner cable broadband service. According to excerpts from a leaked internal memo obtained by Broadband Reports, the company will be testing a usage-based system in the Beaumont, Texas market. The system is aimed at gaining additional revenue from “5% of subscribers who utilize over half of the total network bandwidth.” The trial will determine whether it’s practical to deploy such a system nationally.

The memo claims new customers in the Beaumont market will be placed on metered billing plans where overage charges will apply. Those customers will be given a special website allowing users to track their bandwidth consumption and upgrade to faster tiers if they consistently use more bandwidth than allowed for their tier. Existing customers will be able to track consumption, but will remain on flat-rate billing. An excerpt from the memo:

    The introduction of Consumption Based Billing will enable TWC to charge customer based upon usage, impacting only 5% of subscribers who utilize over half of the total network bandwidth.

    The trial in the Beaumont, TX division will apply to new HSD customer only, will provide a destination for customer to track usage for each month and will enable customers to upgrade from one tier to the next to avoid payment of overage charges. Existing and new subscribers will have tracking capability, however only new subscribers will be charged incrementally for bandwidth usage above the cap.

    Following the trial, a determination will be made as to whether or not existing subscribers should be charged. Only residential subscribers will be impacted. Trial in Beaumont, TX will begin by Q1. We will be testing technical backend as well as Marketing and Messaging to customers. We will use the results of the trial to evaluate results for possible future nationwide rollouts.

It is rumored that Comcast has also conducted such tests, but never implemented the system because they were afraid of consumer backlash. We recently spoke to several ISPs and an industry analyst, all of whom shared those same concerns. ISPs are under pressure from investors to gain more revenue from higher-consumption users, but have had great success marketing the “all you can eat” business model to consumers.

Except, of course, that none of the ISPs actually offer all-you-can-eat services, they just claim to do so. Comcast is particularly notorious for having secret bandwidth caps that, should you exceed them, will often result in the cancellation of your service, but they won’t tell you what those limits are or provide any tools for assessing if you’re in risk of crossing them. So the idea of “unlimited Internet service” is, at best, bullshit marketing speak.

My first thought was that I was surprised no one has tried to offer a variety of service levels based on how much bandwidth you use previously, but then I thought about how useful claiming “unlimited service” is for marketing purposes and realized I was being silly. If this were done correctly it could be a way for folks who don’t use a ton of bandwidth (like say my parents) to save a few bucks on their cable modem service. Even as connected as I am my bandwidth usage is probably way below what the top 5% of bandwidth hogs tend to use. While I do occasionally download a TV show episode (Doctor Who, Torchwood) or the occasional application, I’m not the sort who leaves his PC on all the time downloading huge video files or MP3s. Most of my bandwidth is used for blogging, browsing, email and online game playing. I have no idea how much bandwidth I use in a given month, but I’d be willing to bet that even in our house with no less than five PCs sharing the cable modem service we have that our total bandwidth consumption is relatively moderate.

If the cable companies started making their limits known and/or offering different levels of service for different prices, that wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing. I think a lot of folk’s first instinct would be to go with whatever illusionary unlimited plan might be offered, but after a bit of thought and education it could actually be of benefit assuming that reasonable pricing prevails. For that matter, the cable companies should be considering offering service levels that offer not just obscene download speeds, but comparable upstream speeds as well aimed specifically at those users who do want to trade huge video/music files or host game servers again basing it on the bandwidth used. There’s already a fair number of people out there who are technically violating their TOS by hosting servers of one sort or another on their cable modem connections which shows there’s at least desire for such service offerings.

At any rate, it’ll be interesting to see how the Time Warner experiment plays out in Texas and how customers react to it. This could be a bad thing or a good thing depending on how they go about it.

Texas Baptists show they don’t understand the word “interfaith.”

The folks who run the evangelical megachurch named Hyde Park Baptist Church in Texas may want to invest in a couple of dictionaries as it’s clear that they don’t understand the meaning of the words “interfaith” or “tolerance” and need to look them up. They had originally agreed to host the Austin Area Interreligious Ministries’ annual Thanksgiving celebration only to back out at the last minute when they suddenly realized, despite having been told in advance, that there would be non-Christians, particularly Muslims, participating:

Organizers had booked the gymnasium at the Quarries in July and made the interfaith aspect clear to Quarries staff at that time, said Simone Talma Flowers, Interreligious Ministries’ interim director.

Several Muslim groups were acting as this year’s hosts for the event. Kent Jennings, associate pastor of administration at Hyde Park, released a statement Thursday that said church leaders received a postcard about the service Monday and only then realized that it “was not a Christian oriented event.”

The postcard also “promised space for Muslim Maghrib prayer and revealed that the event was co-hosted by the Central Texas Muslimaat, the Forum of Muslims for Unity, and the Institute of Interfaith Dialog,” according to Hyde Park’s statement.

“Although individuals from all faiths are welcome to worship with us at Hyde Park Baptist Church, the church cannot provide space for the practice of these non-Christian religions on church property,” the statement said.

Kent Jennings then added, without the slightest hint he recognized the irony in doing so, the following statement:

“Hyde Park Baptist Church hopes that the AAIM and the community of faith will understand and be tolerant of our church’s beliefs that have resulted in this decision.”

SEB Translation: PLEASE BE TOLERANT OF OUR INTOLERANCE FOR WE ARE DUMBASSES WHO DON’T KNOW WHAT INTERFAITH MEANS!

For awhile there it appeared as though the group wouldn’t be able to locate another host for the gathering, but a Jewish synagogue stepped up to show the Baptists what asses they were being:

With hundreds of people expected to attend and only a few days to find another site, Muslim organizer Shams Siddiqi said they couldn’t find another facility. That’s when leaders at Congregation Beth Israel, Austin’s largest synagogue, offered to host the celebration.

“Symbolically, that’s a very good thing,” Siddiqi said of the joint Jewish-Muslim endeavor.

Of Hyde Park’s decision, he said it was “unfortunate that people still feel this way in this day and age.”

Well they are evangelicals so it probably shouldn’t be a big surprise. It’s not like they shouldn’t have known ahead of time as this is only the 23rd year that this event has taken place. As one person in the news item asks, is that what Jesus would have done?

Texas politico adds “under God” to State’s mandatory Pledge.

They really like to promote their ignorance proudly down in Texas it seems. State Rep. Debbie Riddle successfully introduced a bill that adds the words “one state under God” to the Texas Pledge of Allegiance. A pledge that all school children are require to recite by Texas law:

Students must remember ‘God’ in Texas pledge | Chron.com – Houston Chronicle

State Rep. Debbie Riddle, who sponsored the bill, said it had always bothered her that God was omitted in the state’s pledge.

“Personally, I felt like the Texas pledge had a big old hole in it, and it occurred to me, ‘You know what? We need to fix that,’ ” said Riddle, R-Tomball. “Our Texas pledge is perfectly OK like it is with the exception of acknowledging that just as we are one nation under God, we are one state under God as well.”

By law, students who object to saying the pledge or making the reference to God can bring a written note from home excusing them from participating.

The sad part is that no one will bother to challenge this any time soon and then after 50 years or so you’ll have people who argue that it proves that Texas was founded as a Christian State because it has the words “under God” in its pledge because people are too ignorant to know their own history. Any attempts to change it at that point will have people screaming that it’s not a religious statement and should be kept out of some idiotic sense of tradition. Much like the Pledge of Allegiance today.

And one more crack appears in the Wall of Separation. Which is, of course, exactly the goal of the Debbie Riddles in this world.

Alabama Gov. Bob Riley tells his constituents to pray to God for rain.

Faced with an ongoing drought Governor Bob Riley decided his best course of action would be to encourage his fellow Alabamians to engage in a pointless ritual:

With the state’s weather forecasters not delivering much-needed rain, Gov. Bob Riley on Thursday turned to a higher power. The governor issued a proclamation calling for a week of prayer for rain, beginning Saturday.

Riley encouraged Alabamians to pray “individually and in their houses of worship.”

“Throughout our history, Alabamians have turned in prayer to God to humbly ask for his blessings and to hold us steady during times of difficulty,” Riley said. “This drought is without question a time of great difficulty.”

Ah yes, the old “pray to God in hopes he’ll stop being such a bastard and gives us a little relief” tactic that has worked so well in the past. Oh wait, it hasn’t worked at all.

Just the same the folks in Alabama may want to think twice before beseeching God to quench their thirst. Back on July 24 of 2006 the town of Lubbock Texas was in a serious drought and they decided to pray for rain as well:

“Nobody is going to tell God what to do and what not to do, but we are in a serious drought in West Texas and since he is the man who controls the rain clouds, we’re asking him for his mercy and his help,” Mayor David Miller told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal.

The City Council and the Lubbock County commissioners are expected to adopt resolutions this week asking local residents to both pray and fast for rain this Sunday.

God didn’t get around to answering that prayer until just recently and the resulting floods have already killed 11 people:

It’s the wettest year on record in Austin, with more than 30 inches of rain since January, and Dallas-Fort Worth, Waco and Wichita Falls have received near-record amounts. The rainfall has more than compensated for a drought that gripped much of Texas in 2005-06, the National Weather Service said.

So perhaps the good people of Alabama might want to think twice before getting down on their knees. This God fellow has a well developed sense of irony it seems.