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    Ending Epidemics: A History of Escape from Contagion: “Ending Epidemics is an important book, deeply and lovingly researched, written with precision and elegance, a sweeping story of centuries of human battle with infectious disease. Conniff is a brilliant historian with a jeweler’s eye for detail. I think the book is a masterpiece.” Richard Preston, author of The Hot Zone and The Demon in the Freezer

    The Species Seekers:  Heroes, Fools, and the Mad Pursuit of Life on Earth by Richard Conniff is “a swashbuckling romp” that “brilliantly evokes that just-before Darwin era” (BBC Focus) and “an enduring story bursting at the seams with intriguing, fantastical and disturbing anecdotes” (New Scientist). “This beautifully written book has the verve of an adventure story” (Wall St. Journal)

    Swimming with Piranhas at Feeding Time by Richard Conniff  is “Hilariously informative…This book will remind you why you always wanted to be a naturalist.” (Outside magazine) “Field naturalist Conniff’s animal adventures … are so amusing and full color that they burst right off the page …  a quick and intensely pleasurable read.” (Seed magazine) “Conniff’s poetic accounts of giraffes drifting past like sail boats, and his feeble attempts to educate Vervet monkeys on the wonders of tissue paper will leave your heart and sides aching.  An excellent read.” (BBC Focus magazine)

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Why Does Congress Sell Itself So Cheap To The NRA?

Posted by Richard Conniff on June 20, 2016

Back then, corruption was actually a scandal.

Granted that our system of legalized bribery allows rich people to buy political office-holders, I’ve never understood why the price seems so cheap.  For instance, the Washington Post reports that the National Rifle Association has donated $3,782,803 to members of Congress since 1998.  Divide that by 18 years and it’s just $210,000 a year, to be subdivided among 100 senators and 435 representatives.
Assuming the money goes to just half of them, that works out to less than $800 per year.  You would not think it would be enough to make even our preternaturally venal elected officer-holders turn against the interests of the people they have sworn to represent.

And it’s not.As one reader explains it:

Direct contributions to candidates is a sliver of the amount of money the NRA spends in campaigns via PACs and in spending against their chosen candidates’ opponents. In the case of Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO), the following figures have been reported elsewhere:

Direct Contributions by NRA: $5,950 (this figure matches yours)
Independent Contributions (via PACs): $1,225,129
Campaign Spending to Defeat His Opponent(s): $2,708,120
Total Spending by NRA on Cory Gardner: $3,939,199

This data tells a much different story.


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