Breaking the Bubble

A lot of things went on outside the bubble of Tech in the past week. Here are a few important events taking place throughout the nation and the world.

The Senate voted on Wednesday to approve $150 billion worth of extensions to last year’s stimulus program, including unemployment aid benefits for the jobless and cash to help states pay for healthcare. The bill passed 62-36, receiving votes from six Republicans. As a result, unemployment benefits may be extended for up to 99 weeks in many states. The bill will prevent doctors from receiving a 21 percent cut in Medicare payments, as well as subsidizing health insurance for unemployed through the COBRA and Medicaid.

Colleen LaRose, a woman from the town of Pennsburg, Pennsylvania was indicted by federal authorities on March 9, 2010 for allegedly trying to recruit Islamic terrorists to murder Swedish artist Lars Vilks. Vilks is the artist at the center of the controversy over the 2007 Muhammad drawings in a Swedish newspaper. Acting under the name JihadJane, LaRose broadcast online her readiness to help terrorists, including recruiting men and women, and raise money for terror operations in Asia and the West. LaRose could be jailed for life and fined $1 million if convicted.

Vice President Joe Biden visited Israel this week in an effort to restart stalled peace negotiations in the region. Within hours of Biden’s arrival Israel announced an expansion of 1600 settlements in the region, complicating the peace process, angering US officials and leading to a sharp rebuke by the Vice President. Israel claims that the timing of the announcement was unfortunate but coincidental.