Photo courtesy of WRDW.

For Your Edification* is a weekly Slice of Culture series where staff writer Ed Daniel take topics — Hudson County or national news related — and provides social commentary.

With so many things happening on the news, we know it’s hard to keep up with it all. But don’t worry, we try to cover news that may be of interest or importance to you. Take a look.

California Recall Election

Republicans led by former President Donald Trump are already claiming California’s gubernatorial recall election is rigged. That messaging poses a problem for Republican Party officials, who are encouraging everyone to vote while maintaining concerns about the state’s election security. (AP Photo / Gregory Bull)

On Tuesday, Sept. 14, California held a gubernatorial recall election, which means voters get to choose between incumbent Governor Gavin Newsom and another candidate.  If voters vote “yes” that means they want to replace Newsom and have new leadership. If they vote “no” that means they want to retain him.  

Newsom was served with the petition of recall in February 2020.  

If there was a “yes” vote, the leading candidate would be Republican Larry Elder. 

Elder is a notable conservative talk radio host , who has a history of spreading misinformation as well as espousing misogynistic, anti-LGBTQ+ and climate change denying views.  

As of Friday, 79 percent of the votes are in and, despite  what far leaning right wingers may say, the votes are all valid. So far, 63.5 percent of voters say no to a recall while 36.5 percent vote “yes.”  

The big difference in this election — other than a Trumpian field of Republicans  challenging in a blue state — is money. 

According to the California Secretary of State’s office, about $96 million has been raised as part of the “yes” or “no” battle—and Newsom’s camp has absolutely dominated, hauling in more than $79 million. That is money well spent for Newsom. 

The biggest loser in all of this is grassroots politics. 

According to Calmatters.org, only 2.5 percent of the money raised came from small donations, which are donations of 100 dollars or less. Not a good sign for corporate interests in politics no matter what side of the aisle you’re on.

New York City has it’s first day of school for over 1 million public school students

A student wearing a face mask arrives at P.S. 188, The Island School in New York City on Tuesday. ( John Angelillo / UPI)

On Monday, Sept. 13, the first day of school started for about 1 million New York City school students.  

The students are mandated to be in person despite the Delta variant of Covid-19. Teachers have been mandated to get their first vaccination shot by Sept. 27; details on the penalties for refusal have yet to be fully disclosed. 

Students must wear masks and vaccinations will be required to participate in contact sports like football and basketball as well as other extracurricular activities like band practice and theater.  

The city also ended remote work on Monday requiring workers to be back at their workplaces in person.  

This is not a popular stance considering that the mandate came with very little notice and after 18 months many employees would rather work remotely than work in person full time, so they don’t have to risk their health or their families’ health.

South Carolina lawyer who arranged to shoot himself turns himself in

Alex Murdaugh entering his bond hearing in Varnvile, S.C. on Thursday. (Mic Smith / Associated Press)

Yeah, that title is not misleading. This actually happened. 

It all started on June 7, when lawyer Alex Murdaugh, of South Carolina, found his 52-year-old wife, Maggie, and their 22-year-old son, Paul, shot multiple times. 

He returned to their Colleton County home after visiting his sick father, who would die days later from cancer.  Their murders remain unsolved and Murdaugh’s lawyers maintain their client has nothing to do with them. 

On Sept. 3, Murdaugh was fired by the PMPED law firm founded by his family after the firm determined he took money. 

According to his lawyers, Murdaugh was suffering from deep depression and drug addiction due to the recent personal tragedies. 

Murdaugh asked Curtis Edward Smith to kill him with a shot to the head on Sept. 4 so his surviving son could collect a $10 million life insurance policy. 

Smith shot at him and only grazed Murdaugh’s head. Murdaugh was able to call 911 and his initial story was someone in a passing pickup truck shot at him as he checked a tire that was low on pressure. 

He turned himself in on Thursday, Sept. 16. He faces up to 20 years in prison for insurance fraud, conspiracy to commit insurance fraud and filing a false police report.   

Happy Hispanic Heritage Month!

Hispanic Heritage Months started this Week on Wednesday, Sept. 15 and goes through Oct.15.  

Celebrate this period by recognizing  members of the Latino communities and their ancestors who hail from Central and South America and Spain and parts of the Caribbean.

If you want Ed to tackle a specific topic please email hello@sliceofculture and edaniel@sliceofculture.com.

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