Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Opinion

April 2, 2014

MORTON MARCUS: Indiana Statehouse likely would have thrown water on Noah’s ark

The new movie about Noah and his ark, combined with the antics of the Indiana General Assembly, led me to setting the fabled story here in the Hoosier state.

We would need an acceptable name for Noah’s wife. Naamah is her name in the movie, but scholars disagree about the accuracy of this. Our Legislature would choose a name more consistent with our comfort levels. Just as the Indiana General Assembly once defined the value of Pi, they would determine Noah’s wife was Debbie.

Noah did not seek any public funds to build the ark, which would be a totally private effort. Prevailing wages would not apply and normal safety and sanitation standards would be suspended. Noah, Debbie and their sons did all the work. Experienced, skilled, unionized craftsmen did not contribute to the project. Only with guidance from above was the vessel seaworthy.

Although not yet invented and not needed, the Legislature did allow guns and other instruments of mass destruction to be carried on the ark. The most interesting and consequential aspect of the Legislature’s guidance was the pricing policy used by Noah in managing the ark.

Given that only one ark would be built, Noah had a monopoly on survival. Hence, the ark was declared a public utility and made subject to the Indiana Regulatory Utilities Commission. This opened the door for all persons to be eligible for inclusion in the passenger list. Fortunately, the Legislature constrained the IURC from such a liberal interpretation of “utility” and proclaimed that, contrary to scientific judgment, limited strains of DNA would be quite adequate for the future of mankind.

There was a loophole. Persons or interested patrons could buy space on the ark. Given no precedence for an ark, the pricing was left to Noah and rubber-stamped by the IURC.

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Poll

Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

I think it’s a good idea to feed all the students free of charge
I think those who can afford it should pay for their school meals
I think all students should be required to pay for their school meals
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