TRC #336: American Sniper + Brian Tomasik on Wild Animal Suffering + Rent-To-Own

squirrelsniperWith Cristina filling in as host, Adam slings a segment about the real story behind American Sniper, while guest Brian Tomasik opens our eyes to Wild Animal Suffering in part 1 of 2 interview segments. Finally (last yet again…) Pat crunches the real math of Rent-To-Own business models, shocking Adam and Cristina in the process.

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American Sniper:

The Guardian: Why American Sniper’s Historical Dishonesty Misleads

Slate: Chris Kyle

The Vulture


History vs Hollywood

Truth Justice and the curious case of Chris Kyle

New Yorker

Washington Post


Best Buy – 60 Inch LB5200

EasyHome – 60 Inch LB5200

Smart Choice PS4

FutureShop PS4

EasyHome Acer Laptop

Smart Choice Acer Laptop

Canada Computers Acer Laptop

EasyHome Samsung Washer and Dryer

Canadian Appliance Samsung Washer and Dryer

EasyHome MOTO G

Staples MOTO G

Association of Progressive Rental Organizations

FTC Survey Report on Rent To Own

Wikipedia – Rent To Own

CBC – Rent To Own In Canada



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6 Responses to TRC #336: American Sniper + Brian Tomasik on Wild Animal Suffering + Rent-To-Own

  1. frootoob says:

    “We say one is human and one is not, but as you said is that a meaningful distinction, and I think the answer is not really, or no.”

    What planet are you on?!

    Pretty much every species on the planet treats its own species different from others, humans included.

  2. Leslie Saunders says:

    Just listened to the podcast and was excited to hear someone, ANYONE talking about the suffering of wild animals.

    As someone who grew up on a farm, lives on a farm, and who does public works in a rural area I am always looking for things that I could be doing to reduce the harm and suffering I (we) are causing wild life.

    I’m hoping this segment is just an intro and in the future you may offer some practical suggestions. I realize I may be in the minority of your listeners who are in a position to actually do something to help wild life but I hope you will offer some practical suggestions none the less. I find it very hard to find research that isn’t behind a pay wall or done by groups with clear bias’ when it comes to helping wildlife.

    I am majorly bias myself in that I value human life over animal life, but I still think that even if someone doesn’t have that bias we could agree on many things. Or they could help inform me to make the less harmful choice.

    For example, roadside cutting (Cutting the grass in the ditches). We do this once a year for hundreds of miles of road… is it better to cut it at a certain time of year? Putting out bales for deer after a heavy snow, is this hurting or helping? Is it better to pasture land or hay land (I can get deeper into this question if you want)?

    We go to abnormal lengths to avoid cutting around anything that could be wild life habitat on our home section. (If you have Google Earth you can go to “50 51 33.05N 98 17 55.69 W” and see what I’m talking about) Would we be better off just pasturing the land? There are also many old buildings on our land. Some things I read say old buildings are good for wild life and others say that they are bad (We have of course capped of all the old wells).

    I can not tell you how happy I am that this subject was touched on, but for me and many others, animal suffering is more than something we should just keep in mind. It’s really something I’d like to do more for, but the only study’s I seem to be able to find are PETA study’s or Trappers study’s. (I’m exaggerating of course, but you know what I mean.)

    • Those are great questions, Leslie! Unfortunately I don’t have answers to most of them. Also, you and I might disagree on some of our conclusions. I think wild animals on average endure more suffering than happiness (at least if smaller critters are included in the evaluation), so having fewer of them in total might be preferable.

      On the hay vs. pasture question, my guess would be that pasture is less violent because it doesn’t require mechanically cutting through hay and possibly hurting wildlife in the process. Since the cows presumably eat the same amount either way, it seems like most other variables are held constant in the calculation.

      Best wishes trying to help the wild animals near you. 🙂

  3. jveeds says:

    This episode is problematic on several counts. Initially, I thought the American Sniper segment was a bit overdone in brashly summarizing Kyle as a “liar” based on tall tales he (undoubtedly) told to his buddies. True, the Jesse Ventura lawsuit is pretty clearcut, but the other tales appear to be things that others say he said. From reading the show notes links, one gets a pretty solid picture of Kyle as an inveterate braggart, perhaps PTSD-influenced or perhaps just by personality. But to summarize him as “liar” seems overdone and a bit unfair.

    I’m still trying to discern what the “animal suffering” segment has to do with anything related to discovering reality. Frankly, I could only listen to about 5 minutes of what seemed to be an interminable segment based on the concept — with a vision of the panel all nodding their heads in enthusiastic agreement — that the line between humans and non-humans is virtually indistinguishable. The entire segment sounded like a shameless PETA promotion. I can hardly wait to fast-forward through the follow-up.

    The Pat Roach segment was actually quite enlightening, but Pat and the panel seemed to (almost) completely ignore the hard economic reality that poor people usually can’t pull together the $900 to buy something new from Best Buy and that the rent-to-own scenario is based on giving folks a way to buy things with low weekly/monthly payments that they couldn’t otherwise acquire. Pat — and company — rightly point out that a well-informed family could simply put away the $26 weekly payments (or whatever) for a period of time and get the product for the much more reasonable price of, say, $900 vs $3400. In my view, that should be the driving message of the segment — not “Oh, these rip off rent-to-own companies overcharging people!” That’s simply the nature of installment buying.

    I had finally recovered my trust in TRC after a period of time when the show seemed to consist mostly of nerdy guys giggling and interrupting themselves incessantly in passionate diatribes about video games. But with the arrival of Pat Roach as a panelist, the lads quieted down and the show took on a more measured credibility. The addition of women to the panel has also helped stifle the 5th-grade-style giggling outbursts of the lads. So, thanks Christina and Dina (sp?).

    • Adam G. says:

      Chris Kyle lied. This isn’t really a question. His buddies tales were almost certainly retold of lies he told. On top of those are the two verifiably fabricated things he said in the book. Is he a “liar”? I suppose that is a subjective term, and one I feel the listeners can make their own judgement on just like you have. Is someone who does something that is racist “a racist”? Same idea. I will agree that the term is not terribly helpful. If you feel the assessment is unfair any listener should just as equally be able to make that assessment based on my completely refutations of things he almost certainly said.

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