Public NewSense

Thumbs Down to the Registrar Office: Do you need an official verification request? Fork up a Hamilton. UC Irvine raised their fees for official verification requests at the registrar to $10. The exorbitant rate for a piece of paper with an official stamp is analogous to charging a Jackson for water in the Sahara—something UCI may do if need be. Students needing verification have no choice but to accept the terms, as the registrar has a monopoly on verification. Next time you go to the registrar to get a 20-cent paper, expect to come out with nothing but a pair of Hoover flags. Now that’s a felony.
Thumbs Up to Craigslist: After being pressured by state attorneys, the online classified company Craigslist agreed to be more active in curbing ads for sexual services. It agreed to curb prostitution ads and, to prove its commitment to the cause, charge “erotic businesses” a small fee that will be donated to charities that combat human trafficking. Any more doubts that capitalism produces the greatest good? The charities will certainly be more than happy to accept money from the very same businesses they reprimand, while Craigslist will be exuberant to prove itself as the noble middle man. The only loser: Eliot Spitzer. He now has to go find service on another site.
Thumbs Down to the Sudanese Government: The Sudanese government prohibited two daily newspapers from publishing on Saturday as punishment for their public protests over increased government censorship. The two papers, Ajras Al-Hurriya and Ray Al-Shab, suspended publication for three days and took part in a 24-hour hunger strike after the dailies were forced to remove articles critical of the government. Sudan’s interim constitution guarantees freedom of expression and press, but that piece of parchment has been rotting in a septic tank ever since it was signed in 2005. The Sudanese government needs to excavate the manure to find the constitution and realize that guaranteeing the freedom of the press doesn’t mean treating them like concubines.
Thumbs Up to Mayor Bloomberg: In an effort to go green, New York mayor Michael Bloomberg has proposed a six-cent fee for every plastic bag requested by shoppers at the register. The tax is estimated to bring in $16 million a year and push more shoppers to purchase reusable shopping bags. Ireland enacted a 33-cent fee in 2002 and saw a 94 percent drop in plastic bag use. Is the tax high enough to change drastically consumer habits? The verdict is out. But one thing is for sure: If passed, New Yorkers will think twice before requesting a plastic bag for their next purchase of Butterfingers.