The World and Everything in It - January 10, 2022
On Legal Docket, the Supreme Court challenge to President Biden’s vaccine mandates; on the Monday Moneybeat, the latest economic news; and on History Book, significant events from the past. Plus: the Monday morning news.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning!
The Covid vaccine mandates before the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday had justices and lawyers grappling with limits to government power.
NICK EICHER, HOST: That’s ahead on Legal Docket.
Also today the Monday Moneybeat—speaking of Covid—economist David Bahnsen will talk about the economic non-event that is Omicron.
Plus the WORLD History Book. This week marks the 400th birthday of an influential French playwright.
REICHARD: It’s Monday, January 10th. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.
EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Good morning!
REICHARD: Up next, Kent Covington with today’s news.
KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: High level U.S.-Russia talks begin Monday » The United States and Russia are kicking off high-level talks today in Geneva, aimed at easing tensions between Moscow and the West. The stakes are high, but optimism is low.
Russia declared Sunday that it will not make any concessions under pressure.
And Secretary of State Tony Blinken told ABC’s This Week…
BLINKEN: The question really now is whether President Putin will take the path of diplomacy and dialogue or seeks confrontation.
That does not mean military confrontation, at least not with the United States. But if Putin decides to invade Ukraine, Blinken warned once again over the weekend that Russia will pay a heavy price.
BLINKEN: Financial and economic measures; certainly NATO’s defensive posture will have to strengthen even further. Assistance to Ukraine to defend itself will continue.
Moscow says it wants guarantees that Ukraine will never be allowed to join NATO. Blinken says that’s a nonstarter and Putin knows it.
Russia’s aggression toward Ukraine will top the agenda in talks this week, but it’s not the only issue. The two sides plan to discuss an array of disputes—ranging from arms control to cybercrime and diplomatic issues.
Kazakhstan says 164 killed in week of protests » Russia’s decision to send paratroopers into Kazakhstan could add more uncertainty to this week’s talks. Well over a hundred people have been killed in protests that have rocked the country over the past week. WORLD’s Josh Schumacher has more.
JOSH SCHUMACHER, REPORTER: Kazakhstan's health ministry said Sunday that 164 people have died in clashes between demonstrators and government forces. Most of the deaths were in the city of Almaty where protesters seized government buildings and set some of them on fire.
It is not clear if the report referred only to civilians or if law enforcement deaths are included.
Protesters are angry about soaring energy prices, among other things. Some turned to violence, but most demonstrations have been peaceful.
The U.S. State Dept. responded to reports of “shoot-to-kill” orders for Kazakh forces and condemned the use of deadly force against peaceful demonstrators.
On Friday, Russian military spokesman, Igor Konashenkov said Moscow had deployed a “peacekeeping” force to Kazakhstan for a limited time. No word on how long Russian troops will remain in the ex-Soviet nation.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Josh Schumacher.
Hospitalizations match record high amid omicron wave » COVID-19 hospitalizations have quickly surged to match the record high set back in January of 2021, with more than 18,000 new admissions each day.
The rate of hospitalizations of children under the age of five, while still low, is now at the highest level since the pandemic started—a little more than 4 per 100,000. Overall, kids under the age of 18 account for slightly less than 5 percent of new hospital admissions.
The new variant has not yet caused a substantial spike in deaths, but CDC Director Rochelle Welensky warns that could change. She says it’s true that omicron, generally, is not as severe…
WALENSKY: On a person to person basis, it may not be. However, given the volume of cases we’re seeing with omicron, we may very well see death rates rise dramatically.
It is that sheer volume of cases that has driven the spike in hospitalizations.
A 7-day rolling average puts new infections at well over 600,000 per day. That's more than double the previous pandemic high.
City, teacher’s union remain deadlocked in Chicago » Meantime, in Chicago, still no breakthrough in talks between the city and the teacher’s union.
Teachers left classrooms last week and called for a temporary shift to online learning. The city called the move an unnecessary “walkout” and cancelled classes altogether.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot told NBC’s Meet The Press that kids need to be in classrooms to get the best possible education. But added that many families in Chicago public schools are poor or working class…
LIGHTFOOT: Which also means that they live in households with single parents, mostly women of color, who have to work to be able to keep the home together. So this walkout by the teacher’s union, which is illegal, has had cascading negative ripple effects.
She said the city has spent millions to make the schools safe for teachers and students and that they are safe.
But the teacher’s union argues that the city has failed to deliver on a range of safety needs amid the pandemic.
Union leaders have placed on the table what they consider to be a compromise solution. They want to resume remote instruction on Wednesday and in-person instruction on Jan. 18th. The city has rejected that proposal.
At least 19 dead after NYC apartment fire » At least 19 people, including nine children, are dead after a fire tore through a Bronx apartment building on Sunday.
New York City Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro:
NIGRO: Thirty-two people were transported to hospitals in life-threatening condition. That is unprecedented in our city. The last time we had a loss of life that may be this horrific was that Happy Land fire that was over 30 years ago.
About 200 firefighters responded to the building around 11 a.m. Initial reports said the fire was on the third floor of the 19-story building, with flames blowing out windows.
Thirteen people remained hospitalized in critical condition. Nigro said most of the victims had severe smoke inhalation.
Thirty-eight-year-old Dilenny Rodriguez lives in the building that caught fire.
RODRIGUEZ: I am devastated. I lived in this building for 16 years and I’ve never experienced anything so sad, especially of this kind. Found neighbors that [are] like my family and see them — I have no words to describe my pain.
Investigators say a faulty space heater sparked the fire.
6. Actor-comedian Bob Saget dies » Actor and comedian Bob Saget has died. He was best known for his role as single dad Danny Tanner on the sitcom “Full House.”
SOUND (Full House clip): Ok, I have everyone’s sandwich just the way they want them: turkey and swiss, swiss - no turkey, turkey all dark meat - extra tomato, and peanut butter and banana - hold the turkey.
He was also the longtime host of “America’s Funniest Home Videos.”
Sheriff’s deputies in Orange County, Florida, found Saget unresponsive in his Orlando hotel room. Detectives said they found “no signs of foul play or drug use in this case.”
Bob Saget was 65 years old.
I’m Kent Covington. Straight ahead: the case against vaccine mandates.
Plus, basketball’s first pass.
This is The World and Everything in It.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: It’s Monday, January 10, 2022, and you’re listening to The World and Everything in It. Good morning. I’m Mary Reichard.
NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. It’s time for Legal Docket.
On Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in challenges to the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
The legal question isn’t whether the vaccines do or don’t work. The issue is whether federal agencies have authority to force big employers to require employees to get vaccinated or get tested every week.
This story is changing fast. That regulation is set to go into effect today, Monday, unless this morning the court stops it. That’s what business groups ask the justices to do.
REICHARD: Chief Justice John Roberts seemed to lean their way as he pointed to what looks like lazy governance as a culprit. Congress won’t do its work, so the executive branch does it for them via federal agencies that it controls.
Listen to his exchange with Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar.
ROBERTS: It seems to me that it's that the government is trying to work across the waterfront and it's just going agency by agency. I mean, this has been referred to, the approach, as a work-around, and I'm wondering what it is you're trying to work around.
PRELOGAR: What we're trying to do here and what OSHA did was rely on its express statutory authority to provide protection to America's workforce from grave dangers like this one.
Express statutory authority, perhaps, but Prelogar conceded that this federal regulation is novel.
Justice Samuel Alito pushed the point:
ALITO: On the issue of whether you're trying to squeeze an elephant into a mouse hole and the question of whether this is fundamentally different than from anything that OSHA has ever done before…Most OSHA regulations, all of the ones with which I'm familiar, affect employees when they are on the job but not when they are not on the job. And this affects employees all the time. If you're vaccinated while you're on the job, you're vaccinated when you're not on the job. Isn't this different from anything OSHA has done before in that respect?
Sure it is, Prelogar answered, but it’s still OSHA protecting workers.
Justice Alito pushed further:
ALITO: Suppose that, I mean, suppose, this is a little science fiction, but maybe it will illustrate a point. Suppose that this protection were provided not by the administration of a vaccine but by waving a wand over employees when they arrive at work and suppose that wand also had the capability of taking away this protection when the employee leaves work. Would OSHA have the authority to tell employees you must … have this wand waved over you when you arrive, but you can't have it taken off when you leave?
PRELOGAR: No, I don't think that OSHA would have that authority.
OK, then that’s a difference, Justice Alito noted.
He then carefully laid out the case for the vaccines: FDA approval and the benefits that outweigh the risks. He’s vaccinated.
And still, the question remains:
ALITO: But is it not the case that these vaccines and every other vaccine of which I'm aware and many other medications have benefits and they also have risks and that some people who are vaccinated and some people who take medication that is highly beneficial will suffer adverse consequences? Is that not true of these vaccines?...
PRELOGAR: That can be true, but, of course, there is far, far greater risk from being –
Prelogar reiterated what Justice Alito had already said about vaccine efficacy. He persisted. There’s a difference between NO risk and some risk. And the government asks some individuals to take a risk they reasonably might not want to take:
PRELOGAR: There would be no basis to think that these FDA-approved and authorized vaccines are not safe and effective.
ALITO: No, I'm not making that point. I tried to make it as clear as I could. I'm not making that point. I'm not making that point. I'm not making that point. There is a risk, right?
Prelogar skirted a direct answer and pounded on “this is just OSHA doing what OSHA’s supposed to do”—namely, fight infectious disease in the workplace.
The liberal justices noted similarities between these COVID-19 mandates and established, uncontested OSHA regulations.
Listen to this exchange between Scott Keller for businesses and Justice Sotomayor:
KELLER: If Congress was going to give an occupational health agency this type of power to essentially regulate directly the employee rather than telling employers these are the types of things that you would want to do within your workplace, it would had to provide that clearly…
SOTOMAYOR: So what’s the difference between this and telling employers where sparks are flying in the workplace that workers have to wear a mask?
KELLER: When sparks are flying in the workplace that’s presumably because there’s a machine that’s unique to that workplace…
SOTOMAYOR: Why is the human being not like a machine if it’s spewing a virus, blood-borne viruses?
Do note that Justice Sotomayor misspoke: COVID-19 is a respiratory virus, not a blood-borne virus. And she went on to make other errors of fact.
Or, dare I say it? Misinformation about COVID-19.
SOTOMAYOR: Numbers show that Omicron is as deadly and causes as much serious disease in the unvaccinated as delta did. We have over 100,000 children which we’ve never had before in serious condition and many on ventilators.
That isn’t the case.
The evidence shows Omicron is not as deadly as Delta. And the government says the national pediatric COVID census is under 35,000, not 100,000.
And even with that, COVID is merely incidental in many of those pediatric admissions.
Justice Clarence Thomas brought the facts back about the vaccines themselves:
THOMAS: There’s been some talk, suggestion, or at least it seems to be implied, that the vaccinations are efficacious in preventing some degree of infection to others. Could you talk about that? Particularly as I remember in the filings that the younger workers, the 20-year-olds who are unvaccinated are actually safer than the older workers who are vaccinated. So there are obviously some differences.
Regardless, Justice Elena Kagan noted that there’s all kinds of trade-offs to be made between public health and economic costs.
The question remains:
KAGAN: So who decides? Should it be the agency full of expert policy makers and completely politically accountable through the president? This is not the kind of policy in which there’s no political accountability. It also has the virtue of expertise. So on the one hand the agency with their political leadership can decide. Or on the other hand courts can decide. Courts are not politically accountable. Courts have not been elected. Courts have no epidemiological expertise. Why in the world would courts decide this question?
That’s the argument for courts to give agencies a lot of deference. In the law, it’s called the Chevron Doctrine.
Conservative justices want to chisel that doctrine down, from what they see as too-broad and unaccountable administrative power.
As for agency expertise, OSHA does not have expertise in communicable disease, as Keller for the business groups argued. And then to sweep 80 million workers into a one-size-fits-all policy? No.
Listen to Ohio’s Solicitor General Benjamin Flowers say OSHA carried out its job utterly backwards. Flowers argued by phone against the workplace requirements:
FLOWERS: OSHA typically identifies a workplace danger and then regulates it. But here, the president decided to regulate a danger and then told OSHA to find a work related basis for doing so. This resulted in the vaccine mandate. A blunderbuss rule, nationwide in scope, that requires the same thing of all covered employers regardless of the other steps they’ve taken to protect employees, regardless of the nature of their workplaces, regardless of their employees’ risk factors, and regardless of local conditions that state and local officials are better positioned to understand and accommodate.
Workplaces aren’t all alike, the argument went. Truckers are mostly alone on the road, landscape artists are mostly outside. Those jobs aren’t like meat packing plants or assembly lines. Why treat them as though they are?
I don’t think this regulation is going to hold up.
But now we turn to the second argument, a challenge to the mandate from the Biden administration that requires vaccination for healthcare workers or else lose their jobs.
They aren’t allowed the alternative of weekly testing—as is available for other industries.
The state of Missouri’s Deputy Attorney General Jesus Osete underscored the blind spot of federal agencies.
OSETTE: The Secretary overlooked the critical perspective of rural healthcare facilities in the states and the devastating consequences the mandate will have on rural Americans' access to healthcare. This represents vast stretches of this country where healthcare is not provided by massive institutional providers with tens of thousands of employees, but by smaller healthcare facilities run by local communities. While a 1 percent loss of staff may be insignificant to the former, it is fatal to the latter. Without the injunction, rural America will face an imminent crisis.
But the federal government argued any delay in carrying out the healthcare worker mandate puts lives at risk. The Department of Health and Human Services has the power Congress gave it to make policy judgments. And our HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra believes vaccines are the best way to prevent spread of infection within his area of authority.
Louisiana is another state contesting the healthcare worker mandate. Here’s state Solicitor General Elizabeth Murrill, who also argued by phone:
MURRILL: This case is not about whether vaccines are effective, useful, or a good idea. It's about whether this federal executive branch agency has the power to force millions of people working for or with a Medicare or Medicaid provider to undergo an invasive, irrevocable, forced medical treatment, a COVID shot. It's a bureaucratic power move that is unprecedented. If it can do that, the question still remains as to whether it properly exercised that power here. This will create chaos in state provider networks, limit access to care for the poor and needy, and eviscerate informed consent for millions of people.
So the large themes in both cases?
Here are some of them:
What did Congress intend to delegate to OSHA back in the 1970s?
Did it mean to put under agency authority risks ever present outside the workplace? Or just risk unique to the workplace?
What are the limits to agency power? “Public health” can be defined so broadly that anything could fit under it.
OSHA didn’t estimate the financial cost to business and individuals because it used “emergency” procedures in lieu of the normal rulemaking process. As Justice Amy Coney Barrett asked, just how long can an “emergency” last?
As Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt told Tucker Carlson on Fox:
SCHMITT: The pathway to tyranny is paved with these kinds of emergency executive orders, which is why this case is so important.
Still, court watchers including me think the justices will treat these two mandates differently. Overall workplaces versus medical workers.
Perhaps a ruling came down by the time you hear this report. Either way, we need clear lane markers to keep government in its place, and citizens free from tyranny, while acknowledging 100% safety is not possible.
And that’s this week’s Legal Docket.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Next up on The World and Everything in It: the Monday Moneybeat.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Time now for our regular conversation on business, markets, and the economy. Financial analyst and adviser David Bahnsen joins us. Hey, David, good morning.
DAVID BAHNSEN, GUEST: Hey, good morning, Nick, good to be with you.
EICHER: Well, David, let’s talk about the Labor Department December jobs report released Friday. Says employers added just under 200,000 jobs in December—it looks back to October and November and revises earlier estimates up—about 140,000 more jobs over that period that the government didn’t count on the first pass.
The unemployment rate fell below four to 3.9 percent and that means that since June the unemployment rate has fallen a full two percentage points. Those are the big data points. How do you read the report?
BAHNSEN: Well, yeah, I mean, you’ve captured all the data points, it has both the good and the bad, all lumped in there together. You have a jobs growth number that was way less than expected. And you have an unemployment percentage that dropped even more than expected. So what explains that math, it's always where the labor participation force is not going the way we want it to. Now, that 199,000 jobs created that was much less than the 500,000 expected is kind of mitigated by the fact that the revisions for the last couple months were higher than expected. So rather than get into the details of where the numbers are, and as you know, we like looking at rolling three month averages, we know all these things are true that there are a lot of new jobs that have come back, that there are a lot of jobs that don't appear to be coming back. The leisure hospitality sector was the area most affected throughout COVID. There's been a lot of repair there, but not enough. And ultimately, that labor participation force, it's not like a data point I'm waiting to see move next month or the next month. I think this has gone structural. And people have a tendency to look at numbers and say, one and a half percent, that doesn't seem like that big of a deal. But when you're talking about labor force that's 160, 170 million people, one and a half percent is a lot of people. And that's where I think when you start talking about 2 to 3 million people that have potentially decided not to work anymore, that is THE cultural and economic story of jobs, more important than initial claims than leisure hospitality than average hourly wages. All those other data points have an economic import, but labor participation force number, that's the key area that we're dealing with, as a society.
EICHER: I saw dozens of stories over the weekend in the financial press citing the jobs report to make a point about the Federal Reserve—what it’s likely to do and when it’s likely to do it. And I hate just to harp on the financial press...
BAHNSEN: …doesn’t bother me at all!
EICHER: Well, good, because they do set the narrative, and I want to get your comment on what I found to be a pretty typical take:
So concerning that jobs report, quoting here, “Evidence of tighter labor markets and high inflation has provided new urgency for the Fed to begin draining reservoirs of stimulus it pumped into the economy after the pandemic struck nearly two years ago.”
Is this just sort of the media equivalent of what we saw back during the Soviet Union years of what we called “Kremlinology” trying to understand a sort of inscrutable institution in the Federal Reserve?
BAHNSEN: Well, it's definitely that. It's definitely media interpretation of the way the Fed would be thinking that I think is completely inaccurate. However, it is fair, because it is likely to be some of the stuff the Fed would use to talk about. So in other words, what I think the challenge that pretty earnest and fair reporters like the Wall Street Journal would have to deal with is, even though I don't believe it has anything whatsoever to do with what Fed policy will be, I do think the Fed would talk that way, that there are certain narratives in the jobs data or in COVID data or other things like that, that could help rationalize a policy decision. But under the hood, I don't have any doubt that what's rationalizing policy decisions one way or the other is much different and much less superficial.
EICHER: You mentioned Covid data—and I do want to have you touch on that because here again, a media story—lots and lots of headlines about the Omicron variant and its relationship to economic performance and you wrote about this on Dividend Café. Could you spend a few minutes on that?
BAHNSEN: It's hard for an economist or financial analyst to use anecdotal data when he's doing things that are more macro economic, and it can be sometimes a little misleading when I even incorporate anecdotal data into the way I'm laying something out, because I do acknowledge that anecdotal data is often unhelpful. The reason why I want to mention this right now, Nick, is to answer your question, as I have no doubt that the vast majority of people listening right now also have the same anecdotal experience that I do over the last several weeks, which is the utterly overwhelming amount of people that have gotten COVID, that maybe got it for a second time or tested positive, and that they're just in an overwhelmingly fine position, either asymptomatic or a really quick 24 to 48 hours. And I think that this kind of societal experience is the last inning of this issue. It has caused left wing media outlets to say things that I've been saying for over a year, that this is going to the endemic phase, that this is we have to learn to live with it, and that positive tests simply cannot be allowed to close schools and alter economic activity. And in fact, if people didn't understand data better, if they just looked at the superficial data, they might conclude that Omicron is helping mortality, because not only have cases grown and deaths not grown proportionally, deaths have declined, globally 10%, domestically 3% - declined, as cases have escalated in some countries over 100% In hours right around 100. And this thing is in the tail end, and and I just cannot believe that people are covering it as if ‘Oh, there's going to be this big decline in economic activity.’ The reservations are up, the hotels are up, not just higher than last year. They're up higher than they were in 2019, pre COVID. But the economic data is clear as could be and those that are looking for a story… I did a little thread on Instagram this week to be my normal, sarcastic self. But I took every single night right before bed, I look at the overnight headlines at Bloomberg. And it said over a million cases positive COVID today, massive surge of this and it was very, very dramatic. And then right below it and said Dow futures up 250. And I put this threat all together and just say, here's the headline. And here's what price signals are telling you. And that's really kind of a symbolic summary of my answer right now.
EICHER: David Bahnsen, financial analyst and adviser. Hey, word of encouragement to you. I heard from a teacher who said she uses your analysis here each week in her econ courses. So, thank you, Professor Bahnsen!
BAHNSEN: Love it. Thanks so much Nick.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Monday, January 10th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Nick Eicher.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard.
Time now for the WORLD History Book.
Today, the United States undertakes its first major operation in Vietnam, basketball’s inventor sets out the rules of the game, and a French playwright enters the scene. Here’s senior correspondent Katie Gaultney.
MUSIC: Molière (1978) soundtrack
KATIE GAULTNEY, SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: First up, the “Grand Siecle” of France: Forces within King Louis XIII’s inner circle are maneuvering to weaken the power of the nobility and consolidate the monarch’s absolute authority. During this period of political intrigue, Jean-Baptiste Poquelin is born, on January 15, 1622—400 years ago. He would later change his name to Moliere, a playwright and actor whom theater buffs regard as “France’s Shakespeare.” He wrote the popular comedies The Misanthrope, The Miser, and Tartuffe.
TARTUFFE: I’ve heard something I want to ask you about./ What?/ That you’re marrying T-T-T-Tartuffe? (laughter)/ My father has that in mind…
That from the South Coast Repertory’s 2014 performance of Tartuffe.
But, before he had a place on the world stage, he had to find his own way. His father was a businessman who made his living in high-end upholstery. That allowed Jean-Baptiste to have a solid education, and eventually, a role in Louis’ court. But, the young man abandoned what seemed like a sure shot at a prosperous future, changed his name to Moliere, and pursued a much-reviled profession instead: acting.
But he wasn’t an overnight success. Thirteen years passed before his short comic farces began to catch theater-goers’ attention.
Those satires grew into five-act verse comedies, many of them needling the French nobility—the very group that made up his audience. Mike Rugnetta shares more on the YouTube channel CrashCourse.
RUGNETTA: He believed that the duty of comedy was to hold a mirror up to life—a mirror that involved some extremely witty dialogue. “You haven’t achieved anything in comedy unless your portraits can be seen to be living types.”
Despite theater’s bawdy reputation, the king loved Moliere’s plays and gave him a royal pension.
Tuberculosis plagued Moliere for most of his adult life. When he was 51, he was performing his final play, The Imaginary Invalid—ironically, about a hypochondriac—when he was overcome by coughing. He finished the performance, but died hours later.
Moving from a King’s court to the basketball court.
One hundred thirty years ago, Canadian-American Dr. James Naismith published the rules of basketball, on January 15, 1892.
SONG: “The Thunderer” U.S. Marine Band
Naismith, a Christian, developed the game while teaching at the International YMCA Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Despite his small stature, Naismith proved himself a versatile athlete at McGill College, playing several sports. When he began teaching physical education in New England, Naismith became desperate to find a way to effectively exercise his rowdy students during the harsh winters. Here’s Naismith himself, in a 1939 radio interview.
NAISMITH: We had a real New England blizzard. For days, the students couldn’t go outdoors, so they began roughhousing in the halls.
His boss challenged him to come up with an “athletic distraction” that could be played indoors, offer a good workout, and charged Naismith with making a game “fair for all players and not too rough.”
He got a soccer ball and considered how to keep people from tackling each other while running down the court. Passing would slow them down. Then, Naismith looked for boxes, but turned up peach baskets instead. He nailed those to the wall at opposite ends of the gym—high enough that students wouldn’t slam into each other trying to make a goal. And he came up with 13 rules to govern play.
NAISMITH: I told them the idea was to throw the ball into the opposing team’s peach basket. I blew a whistle, and the first game of basketball began.
The first game was nine-on-nine, unlike today’s five-on-five. Most of the fouls were called for running with the ball or tackling. But, players caught on, and so did fans. Today, basketball is the third most popular sport with roughly 2.2 billion fans. The document of Naismith’s original rules of basketball went on the auction block in 2010, selling for more than $4 million—making it one of the most valuable pieces of sports memorabilia ever sold.
And we’ll end today with Operation Chopper, the first American combat mission in the Vietnam War.
SOUND: Helicopters radioing over Vietnam
That operation commenced January 12, 1962—60 years ago.
During that mission, 82 U.S. Army helicopters transported more than 1,000 South Vietnamese paratroopers for an assault on the Viet Cong, an armed Communist political revolutionary group.
NEWSCAST: The new communist campaign in Vietnam continues. Just after midnight, their time, a band of Viet Cong raiders blew up a power installation and attacked two police stations in Saigon…
The paratroopers aimed to overtake a VC stronghold near Saigon. The surprise attack paid off in the short-term.
SONG: “Running Through the Jungle,” Creedence Clearwater Revival
The Army of the Republic of Vietnam swiftly overpowered the Viet Cong. But, those enemy forces took notes, later using some of the same tactics against American troops.
Still, the operation marked a watershed moment for air mobility in combat, showing how helicopters could operate like a modern-day airborne cavalry.
That’s this week’s History Book. I’m Katie Gaultney.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Tomorrow: vinyl records. Remember those? Well, they’re taking the music business by storm—again. We’ll find out why.
Also, we’ll join in on a search for one of Australia’s most iconic creatures.
Plus, mind games. We’ll talk about China’s latest efforts to control its population.
That and more tomorrow.
I’m Nick Eicher.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard.
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