China’s Central Bank Cuts Interest Rates: A Sign Of Slowing Economic Growth?

China’s central bank cut interest rates for the second time in less than four months, in a fresh sign that the country’s leadership is becoming more aggressive in trying to stop the slowdown of economic growth, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The rate cut by the People’s Bank of China was announced Saturday, and it came sooner than some analysts and investors had expected.  It reflects growing worries over the world’s second-largest economy as it struggles with certain difficulties: a slumping property market, more money being sent offshore and growing risks of falling prices that, in effect, are pushing up borrowing costs for businesses.

The cut, effective Sunday, lowers by a quarter percentage point the benchmark one-year loan rate, to 5.35%, and the one-year deposit rate, to 2.5%. In a statement accompanying the announcement, the central bank singled out increasing deflationary pressure as a trigger for the move, saying that plunging commodity prices world-wide “provided room” to spur growth by lowering interest rates.

CNN: Radicalization On U.K. Campuses

CNN takes a look at the life and identity of Jihadi John, as well as at the extent of Islamic radicalization taking place on some British campuses.

Heroic Boy, 14, Stops Runaway School Bus After Classmate Hit Driver And Knocked Her Unconscious

Sneak attack: A 26-year-old woman was driving a school bus filled with a half-dozen students from an alternative school in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, when one of them came up behind her and punched her in the head

A 14-year-old Louisiana boy is being hailed as a hero for stopping an out-of-control school bus filled with high school students after a classmate knocked the driver unconscious, according to the Daily Mail.  

The 15-year-old suspect has been charged with assault for attacking the 26-year-old driver in Baton Rouge Thursday as she was dropping off about a half-dozen students from Christa McAuliffe Superintendent’s Academy.  The academy is an alternative school for teens with disciplinary problems.

Police and school officials say the female driver had stopped the bus at around 3pm at Linden Street to exchange words with the disruptive student.

According to the driver, when she turned away to face the road, the 15-year-old walked up behind her and punched the woman several times in the head until she passed out.

She then lost consciousness, her hands and feet slipped from the wheel and the brakes, and the bus started moving again.

That is when Tay’veon Slaughter, 14, jumped into action.

The quick-thinking eighth-grader slammed his foot on the breaks to stop the bus from crashing and called 911.

‘I knew I had to stop the bus because, you know, she’s not responding,’ he told the station WAFB, referring to the driver. ‘The bus was speeding up. So I knew if we get into a wreck, all of us would have been hurt.’

The 15-year-old suspect in the attack fled the bus before police responded to the scene.  Later that day, the teenager’s mother turned him in to police. The suspect was arrested on charges of battery of a bus operator, aggravated obstruction of a roadway and second-degree battery.

School officials say the 15-year-old has been suspended pending a disciplinary hearing and could face expulsion.

When the driver of the bus woke up, she did know she had been attacked and that her face was swollen.

The injured driver was taken to a hospital to be treated for her injures. She has since been released to continue her recovery at home.

Slaughter said that before the attack on the driver, the 15-year-old was throwing things out the widow and spitting at passing cars. The boy reportedly became upset when the driver asked him to stop and sit down.

When the 26-year-old woman regained consciousness, Slaughter said she did not know she had been punched.

‘She didn’t know that her face was swollen,’ the boy recalled to the New Orleans Advocate.

Averil Sanders, principal of Christa McAuliffe Superintendent’s Academy, said he was proud of Tay’veon for stepping up to the plate in an emergency situation.

More here:

Teen Allegedly Convinced Boyfriend To Commit Suicide, Tweeted About Missing Him

A Massachusetts teenage girl was facing a charge of involuntary manslaughter after allegedly encouraging her boyfriend to kill himself.  She is out on bail, according to

Conrad Roy, 18, died of carbon monoxide poisoning while sitting in his truck behind a K-Mart last summer in Fairhaven, Massachusetts, according to Boston TV station WBZ-TV.

Roy’s cell phone was found next to his body, and showed he had been text messaging with his girlfriend, Michelle Carter, right up until his death, the station reported.

Investigators told the station that at one point, Roy started to back out of the suicide, saying he did not want to leave his family and got out of the truck.

Carter texted Roy to “get back in,” according to court documents released to the station.

Carter’s phone revealed a text message she sent to a friend, saying, “….his death is my fault….I was on the phone with him and he got out of the car because it was working and he got scared and I told him to get back in.”

She later tweeted that she missed him.

“Enjoy the parade from up there tomorrow Conrad, I know you would of loved to be there ♥ Really missing you tonight

— Michelle Carter (@michyc47) February 4, 2015

The 18-year-old Carter was indicted earlier this month after authorities concluded she “strongly influenced” Roy’s actions the day he died.

Vintage Story: Firefighters Let Woman’s House Burn over $75 Fee

Homeowner Vicky Bell’s Tennessee home was allowed to burn to the ground.  Vicki lived just outside of the city of South Fulton, where residents were supposed to pay $75 fee.  Do these firefighters “love thy neighbor?”

Story from 2011.


Rachel Maddow Looks At Possible Threats Made By Bill O’Reilly Towards Other Reporters


Recently, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow took on Bill O’Reilly and Fox News for O’Reilly taking his bombast to the point of directly threatening reporters for reporting. She also looks at the recent series of revelations about uncorrected false claims O’Reilly has made on Fox News.

Armor Piercing Bullet Ban On The Table

5.56 mm M855 green tip rounds.

A proposal to ban a bullet that can pierce armor has upset the gun industry and its supporters.

The bullet in question is the M855 “green tip,” which is used in the popular AR-15 assault rifles.

Handgun bullets made of steel have been banned from public use since 1968. But the .223 caliber M855 has managed to avoid the ban because it is used in assault rifles, which aren’t technically handguns, and fall under the category of sporting rifles used by target shooters and hunters, according to CNN.

The bullet would be banned under a new framework that was proposed earlier this month by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). The proposal is not finalized yet and is seeking public comment.

There are other bullets that can be used with the AR-15 that are not included in the ban. They’re made of lead and copper and are widely available. Only “armor piercing” bullets would be banned.

The NRA has already started gathering signatures for a letter to the ATF director B. Todd Jones and is asking its members to write their local member of Congress.

Gun safety advocates say the M855 is a threat to law enforcement officers since it can penetrate bullet-proof vests and can be used in certain types of handguns, the most common firearm used in violent crime.

“This is not a gun grab,” said Brian Malte of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. “It’s a proposed rule change to protect the lives and safety of law enforcement officers.”

What do ATF rules say about it?

Here is some information from the ATF “Framework For Determining Certain Projectiles Are ‘Primarily Intended For Sporting Purposes.’ The framework looks at legislation – passed during the Reagan administration – that addresses “armor piercing bullets.” The legislation is called LEOPA.

Here are some excerpts from the ATF “Framework For Determining Certain Projectiles Are ‘Primarily Intended For Sporting Purposes.’

To protect the lives and safety of law enforcement officers from the threat posed by ammunition capable of penetrating a protective vest when fired from a handgun, the Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA), as amended, prohibits the import, manufacture, and distribution of “armor piercing ammunition” as defined by the statute.

The GCA provisions defining and governing armor piecing ammunition were originally enacted in the Law Enforcement Officers Protection Act of 1986 (P.L. 99-408) (“LEOPA”). The primary goal of the LEOPA provisions regarding armor piecing ammunition was the protection of police officers from death or injury as the result of the criminal use of handgun ammunition capable of penetrating protective vests (soft body armor).

“… Ammunition capable of penetrating body armor was originally designed and manufactured primarily for military and law enforcement applications, not for use by the general public.

“By the late 1970’s, however, law enforcement organizations began to voice concern that armor piercing ammunition was readily available to the general public and posed extreme safety risks to police officers when used by criminals.

“Over the next several years, Congress debated various bills to both define and limit the availability of ammunition capable of penetrating body armor. The early bills on the issue included a performance standard – i.e., the ammunition at issue must be capable of penetrating body armor – and applied only to handgun ammunition.

“In a hearing on one of these early bills for LEOPA, Senator Moynihan made clear that the intent of the bill was to ban only ammunition that both met the performance standard and was designed to be used in a
handgun. Moynihan:

“[L]et me make clear what this bill does not do. Our legislation would not limit the
availability of standard rifle ammunition with armor-piercing capability. We recognize
that soft body armor is not intended to stop high powered rifle cartridges. Time and
again Congressman Biaggi and I have stressed that only bullets capable of penetrating
body armor and designed to be fired from a handgun would be banned; rifle ammunition
would not be covered.

“Accordingly, under the original bills, if the manufacturer of the ammunition “designed [it] to be fired from a handgun” and it was “capable of penetrating body armor”, then it would meet the definition of “armor piercing.” If the manufacturer designed and intended the ammunition to be used in rifles (or if it was not capable of penetrating body armor), it would not meet the definition.

“When LEOPA was finally passed by Congress in 1986, however, the final bill did not include a performance-based standard, or limit the definition of armor piercing ammunition to ammunition “designed” for use in a handgun.

“Instead, the definition has two alternatives: the first focuses on the composition of the ammunition, and whether it “may be used” in a handgun; the second focuses on size, jacket weight, and the design and intention for the ammunition.

“Specifically, the definition of “armor piercing ammunition” in 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(17)(B) provides: (B) The term “armor piercing ammunition” means— (i) a projectile or projectile core which may be used in a handgun and which is constructed entirely (excluding the presence of traces of other substances) from one or a combination of tungsten alloys, steel, iron, brass, bronze, beryllium copper or depleted uranium; or (ii) a full jacketed projectile larger than .22 caliber designed and intended for use in a handgun and whose jacket has a weight of more than 25 percent of the total weight of the projectile.

“Although the design and intention for the ammunition is relevant to the second alternative definition, the first alternative contains no such limitation.

“In fact, during the final vote on LEOPA, Congress specifically rejected an amendment that would have limited the definition of armor piercing ammunition to ammunition “intended” to be used in a handgun, thereby exempting “standard rifle ammunition.”1

“As a result, rather than limiting the definition to the manufacturer’s “design” or “intent,” the final bill passed by Congress clearly expanded the definition of armor piercing ammunition to include any ammunition containing the specified metal content “which may be used in a handgun.”

“This definition has remained unchanged since enactment of LEOPA in 1986. In adopting a definition of armor piercing ammunition that included ammunition that “may” be used in a handgun, 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(17)(B)(i), Congress expressly sought to protect law enforcement officers from the effects of a projectile that, although originally intended for a rifle, could be fired from a handgun. Accordingly, under the first of the two alternative definitions enacted into law, all projectiles meeting the metal content criteria that “may be used in a handgun” are defined as “armor piercing ammunition” under the statute.”

Was Bill O’Reilly At The Scene When Lee Harvey Oswald’s Associate Committed Suicide?

Bill O’Reilly has repeatedly claimed he personally “heard” a shotgun blast that killed George de Mohrenschildt, a figure in the investigation into President John F. Kennedy’s assassination.

Secular Talk