Episode 51: The ViKings of the North

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We’re back with another break from the neverending political chaos that is the Trumpocalypse, to discuss the surprising ascendancy of the Kings of the North, the Minnesota Vikings.

Join us as we discuss our hopes for the rest of their season, what about this year’s team makes them special and some of the most heartbreaking moments in Vikings history.

So pick your pants up off the ground and listen to this week’s episode of Agreeing Loudly Coast to Coast as we revel in the unforeseen success of one the most snakebitten teams in the NFL. Low on data? Download it instead!

Agreeing Loudly Episode 42: Terrible Legal Analysis

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Now coming to you on a monthly basis, Agreeing Loudly is back with an exciting conversation about the 5-0 Minnesota Vikings, the upcoming holiday movie season, and the latest political nonsense surrounding the presidential election. And if all that wasn’t enough, a prodigal son returns to the podcast with a groundbreaking realization.

What are you waiting for? Listen now! You can also direct download instead.

Viking Fan Seeks To Be Indemnified by Vikings Organization for Damages Caused to Roommates’ Table

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Eagleview Heights, MN — A passionate, local Viking fan seeks to be indemnified by the team for extensive damages he has caused roommates to alleviate his legal woes.

Garrett Atkinson, seen below in the video, is now the defendant is a multi-party lawsuit for civil damages. His three roommates have pursued damages alleging recklessness and the intentional tort of assault (‘imminent apprehension or fear of harmful or offensive contact of the person of the other’), and trespass to chattels. However, the enthusiastic fan, who for the last two years has shown a consistent pattern of destroying roommates’ property after a Vikings loss, is striking back — seeking to bring the Vikings organization into the lawsuit. Atkinson’s defense of “it’s not my fault they freaking suck at everything” and attempt to indemnify the team for said sucking, which he alleges was the proximate cause of the damage will likely fall on deaf ears with local Judge, who is a known Packers fan, but also because his defense is completely insane.

For further information on this ongoing suit, likely to be dismissed, see the video below of said property damage.

 

 

 

Episode 41: In the Interest of Sanity

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On this episode of Agreeing Loudly Coast to Coast, Jered, Pat, and Troy bid farewell to the summer by discussing their hopes (and concerns) for the Minnesota Vikings. In addition, they continue their attempts at political commentary and discuss the end of the tragic Jacob Wetterling saga, the pipeline insanity of North Dakota, and whether the health of Hillary Clinton (or her body double) really matters. Meanwhile, Bill is lost in the wilderness somewhere training to be a Pokemon master.

Will Pat have words of wisdom to share, now that he’s joined the ranks of fatherhood? Does Jered have any faith in this year’s Minnesota Vikings? Will Troy’s new catchphrase catch on? Tune into this week’s episode to find out! Or do the cool thing, and direct download it instead.

The Grift Machine: Episode I – Publicly Funded Sports Stadiums

Taxpayer Funded Sports Stadium Cartoon

by Troy M. Olson

The Rams franchise is heading back to their original city of Los Angeles, leaving the city of St. Louis behind and loyal fans crushed. All of this after the city of St. Louis promised to fund $150 million with more public funding to come from the state of Missouri.

It was a competitive offer and a large amount of the commentary since has been centered around how betrayed these fans feel (understandable) and how the National Football League and their team owners have behaved dishonorably in rejecting that deal to move the Rams to Los Angeles, one of the largest media markets in the country, who have been without an NFL franchise since the 1990’s.

What is lost in all of this is how this is actually the first time in a long while where the most amount of people in these stadium negotiations and deals have won out. Who are these winners? The public.

While it may not be consolation to dry the tears of Rams fans watching their 1999 playoff run on repeat this year, the city of St. Louis now has $150 million more they can allocate toward infrastructure, public safety, utilities, sewer maintenance, public projects, parks, and other areas that are “essential” features of what services are demanded and expected from the taxpaying public. Furthermore, the state of Missouri has millions more to spend on schools, health services, social services, roads, bridges and other infrastructure updates and projects. Those features are societal “needs.” Having an NFL franchise playing in your city, as nice as it is, is a societal “want.”Even that is being generous. Because like so many “grift machines” in American life today, a majority of people do not “want” this.

Simply put, owners have pitted the interests of sports fan’s love for their teams against the interest of the public. In nearly every case, the vocal minority of sports fans have got their way, political leaders could take credit, and the public loses. But the real winner every time is ownership and the league itself. Using threats to relocate the beloved franchise if demands for stadium financing are not met, owners have a stacked deck against both fans and the wider public. In any other factual scenario, especially one between two private actors, we would call this extortion. But since in these instances we have a public entity, either the municipality where the stadium is or would be located and the state potentially contributing funds – it would be fair to call this extortion and misuse of public funds.

It would be one thing if sports stadiums had a positive economic impact, but they don’t. In fact, public subsidies in the form of welfare checks to billionaire sports owners have a negative impact on both the area economy and the budget. Nine out of ten economists agree that public subsidies for sports stadiums is bad. Considering that economists have far less consensus building than scientists do, this agreement among academics and policy analysts is pretty strong.

This is just the latest in a long line of unfortunate episodes of taxpayer funded sports stadiums either in whole or part. Like so many other in American life today issues, it is tantamount to another round of welfare checks to billionaires that goes under-reported, unnoticed, and not acted on by leaders. What makes this issue particularly grating is that this theft of public dollars for private profit is seemingly bipartisan a lot of the time. Big city Democratic mayors and Democratic and Republican Governors have time and again, helped to broker deals to help billionaire sports owners finance new stadiums with public money.

Why? No intellectually honest or accurate assessment could stress the economic benefits, is the answer political? Support from the public? Once again, no.

Most polling for specific publicly funded stadium proposals have not been supported by the public. 69 percent were against public funding in one poll. The most friendly one I could find was in the city of Buffalo, perhaps the most hardcore and loyal football fanbase for an NFL team. The public was split 50/50 on the issue. There simply is no empirical evidence that the public supports taxpayer subsidized stadiums.

For decades the conversation has revolved around team ownership and the league interest, which has been placed ahead of the fans who have in turn been placed ahead of the public interest. For most other issues of heavily public subsidizing of big business, liberals and Democrats are up in arms over it. They have been silent, however, all too often over this issue. But it is the same principle at work. While many Democratic leaders have cowered in the face of billionaire owners threatening to move the team elsewhere, the leader of the party has finally called for some common sense on the issue. He would be right.

For the NFL specifically, the 16 stadiums that held opening games this year saw 3 billion dollars in public funding that will only enable the team ownership to increase the value of the franchise, raise ticket prices, alienate fans and hurt the integrity of the sport, and ultimately, end up with us all right back at the same place, asking for a new public subsidy in twenty years or so. It is time to end this “grift machine.” 

In curbing a world-class, well-oiled, “grift machine” – half-measures like referendums are not the way to go either, because it allows the entrenched interests an opportunity to use their deep pockets and influence the referendum, just like the Koch brothers and many other billionaires use their deep pockets to unduly influence the electoral process in the United States.

There ought to be an Act of Congress; the National Fan Protection and Professional Sports League Integrity Act. This act should lay out a framework to end the possibility of public funding for sports owners or ownership teams unless there is an opportunity for the team to truly become public. Because while teams are (except for the Green Bay Packers, the best franchise in professional sports, and I say this even as a Viking fan, because lets be honest, we’re all jealous of the Packers) privately-owned, they have many public features and become an integral part of many communities. The ownership should reflect this. Or at the very least, public money should not be subsidizing private profit.

Until this day comes, however, and I won’t hold my breath, political leaders (big city Mayors and Governors of both parties) owe it to the public that elected them to serve to say “no” to these taxpayer subsidized stadium boondoggles, even if special interests or a loud minority of sports fans lobby otherwise. It is not that complicated. All it takes is saying “no, pay for it yourself.” All it takes is a little political courage. A quality that is lacking in many political leaders and policy-makers today.

This has been the first in a series of articles on “Grift Machines” that will cover issues that are not necessarily at the top of the National Conversation, but exhibit many of the attributes of what is not working well for the public in terms of policy, economic impact, fairness, and efficient outcomes. 

 

 

Episode 17: Belated Best of 2015

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Now that 2016 is officially underway (let’s be honest, those first two weeks don’t count), the new and improved Agreeing Loudly Coast to Coast crew is ready to reflect on what they liked most about 2015. Jered, Pat, and Bill discuss their favorite moments from politics, pop culture, and sports during a special weekend morning conversation.

What moments, events and media were impressive enough to make the Agreeing Loudly cut? Will Jered be able to stay awake during this episode? Can Pat put aside his distaste for Jered’s favorite hobbies? Will Bill be able survive once the beeping doors of death cut him off from the life giving California rains?

Listen now to find out the answers to these questions and more! If downloading is more your thing download it here!

Intro 0:00-2:15

Millennial Musings: Best of 2015 2:20-13:15

Political Parrots: Best of 2015 13:17-37:39

Pop Goes the Culture: Best of 2015 37:44-1:06:07

Sports Round Up: Best of 2015 1:06:15-1:18:53

Outro/Where to Find Us 1:18:55-1:21:11 

Episode 14: Millennials Rising

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This week Jered, Troy, Pat and Bill discuss whether the 2016 presidential election is as historic as some would like to think, whether or not Jeb Bush’s tax plan has what it takes to make Millennials rise above the mucky muck, the existential crisis facing college football and Minnesota sports in general. Also, Bill makes his segment hosting debut with a fun-filled Games of Thrones speculation spectacular.

Can Bill successfully moderate a discussion on Game of Thrones? Will Jered be able to successfully execute a Bane impression? Does anyone still care about the 2016 presidential election?

Answer these questions and more by listening to this week’s episode!
You can also get the direct download here. 

Intro 0:00 – 3:20

Millennial Musings: Millennials Rising? 3:25-11:17

Political Parrots: Is 2016 A Historic Election? 11:27-22:32

Pop Goes the Culture: Game of Thrones from Coast to Coast 22:35-40:28

Sports Round Up: Mediocrity, Money, and the Machine 40:32-58:44

Outro/Where to Find Us 58:47-1:01:40

Episode 13: Wrap it Up

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This week Agreeing Loudly Coast to Coast attempts to overcome the unlucky episode 13 with the return of Pat Meacham and the Rick Perry Memorial Bracket where the final match up between Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush will be decided once and for all.

Also Jered, Bill, Troy and Pat discuss possible solutions to the income and wealth inequality prevalent in America, introduce another fun-filled game focused on Star Wars, and enjoy the glory of another decent week in Minnesota sports excellence.

We should warn you that this week’s episode exceeds all reasonable time constraints. You might want to grab a snack before listening to this week’s episode. If Direct Download is more your thing, click here.

Intro 0:00-3:15

Millennial Musings: Job Tips from Generation X 3:20-11:15

Political Parrots: Brackets and Wealth Inequality 11:17-37:00

Pop Goes the Culture: Star Wars Predictions 37:11-1:00:25

Sports Round Up 1:00:40-1:12:20

News From the Front: Minneapolis Precinct 4 Update

Outro/Where to Find Us 1:16:51-1:19:00 

Just when I thought I was out…

by Troy M. Olson

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…you pull me back in (from the Godfather, Part III).

I am of course referring, to the Minnesota Vikings. Jered Weber will be happy to hear this, I am a believer. I am a believer in the Mike Zimmer-coached version of the Minnesota Vikings. He has a lot of Bud Grant in him. And those four Super Bowl teams never had a player as dominant as Adrian Peterson is within his own era.

Does this mean the Vikings keep up the pace, beat the Packers this weekend, and make a run at the Super Bowl? Not necessarily. However, at some point during the Zimmer/Bridgewater/Peterson-era, I think they finally deliver the long suffering fan base a Super Bowl title. Which means I lose my bet… unless the Twins can win one soon (also very possible, both teams are entering a contending-window period).

I have many reasons not to like the Minnesota Vikings, and most of them are actually off-the-field reasons. I still think the stadium deal was awful. I still think certain Minnesota Democratic politicians are sell-outs over that deal. I think the Vikings owner Zygi Wilf is an extortionist, both over the politics of the stadium deal, but also literally, an extortionist. Having a bad owner is one thing, but having several embarrassing off the field stories over the years just compounds the failures on the field (which are well remembered by the long suffering fanbase).

That being said, at the end of the day, I am still a Viking fan. I was born into it. I have gone through too many years of disappointment not to reap the rewards when they go on a run. I am a Vikings fan because if I wasn’t, I wouldn’t care much about football at all these days. It’s a brutal and violent sport, that for years was tax-exempt, and the league does a terrible job of taking care of those that helped build the popularity of the league.

Simply put, the popularity of American football reminds me too much of “gladiator games for the mass audience” with the Roman Empire at its height. I often like to pinpoint baseball (my favorite sport) being replaced by football, along with “Life” magazine going away, to be replaced by “People”, as two metaphorical moments when American culture started the long decline. And I don’t say this in a cranky, get-off-my-lawn, irrational appeal to traditionalism sort of way… precisely the opposite. I mean it in the way that I cannot contemplate our country coming together and winning a World War II-type situation today or even coming together to solve very solvable and obvious problems like bad health spending outcomes, Gilded Age-level income and wealth inequality, or massive defense/war spending on conflicts that do not move the dial toward peace in the Middle East one iota. But I digress…

It is unfair to pin all of this on a sport. It absolutely is. But everyone has their coping mechanisms in life, and this is mine. For many, the sport of football itself or even a long-suffering NFL franchise like the Minnesota Vikings, is exactly that coping mechanism. So on that level: for Jered Weber, and especially for Viking fans like my father, who has watched four Super Bowl losses, four NFC championship game losses, and other playoff and last second disappointments, I want the Vikings to win it all this year. If not this year, then the next.

And for the first time since 2009, I’m a believer. There is just something special about this team. They have all of the “special ingredients” that it takes to win in the NFL in this day and age. I believe they have found that one head coach you need, who finds his QB to implement that system that works. Teddy Bridgewater may not be Tom Brady, but you know who else wasn’t Tom Brady? Tom Brady back in 2001. His first year as a starter he took the Patriots all the way to the Super Bowl, helping them upset the heavily favored “greatest show on turf”, the St. Louis Rams. That team was built on defense, special teams, an offense that minimized mistakes and played better in the 4th quarter than the first three, and a ton of intangibles. Tom Brady had a lot of those intangibles then, but he wasn’t nearly the player he has been the majority of his career. Not yet. I don’t think Teddy reaches the heights of Tom Brady 2003 to present day. However, he is good enough to be our Tom Brady of 2001.

Through nine games this year, with a record of 7-2, I believe the Vikings have a lot of those “special ingredients” and intangibles. Of course, only time will tell how far they go this year… but I’m cautiously optimistic.

 

Episode 11: Evil Exists

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Now that the 10th episode has come and gone, the agreeing loudly crew soldiers forth and tries to find meaning in the podcast’s continued existence.

This week Troy goes on a lengthy monologue of what he thinks the attacks in Paris mean for America’s foreign policy future and makes an ill-fated attempt at a Simpson segue. Jered pops the culture with a discussion on the popularity of video games among adults and what this means for the future of gaming. Pat bookends things with discussions on the top millennial brands and the ups and downs of the Minnesota sports scene.

Will Troy set the record for longest monologue in podcast history? Will Pat be able to stay awake long enough to make it through this week’s episode? Also, where the hell is Bill?

For answers to these questions and more listen this week’s episode of Agreeing Loudly Coast to Coast

Want to direct download it instead? Click here!

Intro 0:00-3:00

Millennial Musings: Top 200 Millennial Brands 3:05-7:50

Political Parrots: Paris and the Future of American Foreign Policy 8:00-30:10

Pop Goes the Culture: The Popularity of Video Games with Adults 30:15-47:00

Sports Round Up: Vikings and Wild Are Getting it Done 47:05-1:01:40

News From the Front: Live from New York 1:01:45-1:04:00

Where to Find Us/Outro 1:04:00-1:06:39