Frieda Wallison

Who’s A Racist?

Oct 28, 2014

I can’t remember a time when the terms “racist” or “racism” were used with the abandon that now infects our political discourse.  These are hateful words - akin to the worst racial slurs bigots apply to others.  Yet some partisans apply the term to anyone who disagrees with the current Administration’s policies or who calls for voter identification requirements.

Speech and Censorship on Campus

May 30, 2014

As an alumna of Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, one of the last all-women institutions of higher education, I decided to put aside the other topics about which I’d like to write to comment on the “disinvitation” of Christine Lagarde as this year’s commencement speaker at Smith.  Madame Lagarde is the head of the International Monetary Fund (the “IMF”), a woman with a lengthy list of barrier-breaking accomplishments in both the public and private sectors.  Growing out of the Bretton Woods Conference convened in 1944 to determine how to help reconstruct the global economy after t

Campaign Finance Post-McCutcheon

Apr 25, 2014

The April 2 five-four decision of the United States Supreme Court on campaign finance in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission has elicited the predictable polar opposite reactions from commentators.  The decision has been hailed by many as reinforcing the fundamental Constitutional right of free speech and strengthening the role of the parties in the political process.  Conversely, the decision has been vilified in some quarters as giving the wealthy a larger voice in politics than they may already have to the detriment, it is said, of the general public.

Voting in Peru

Mar 5, 2014

My husband and I recently returned from a fascinating trip to Peru, where we floated down the Amazon (the headwaters are in the Peruvian Andes) and hiked Machu Picchu.  It’s always instructive to learn that people in other countries have a different perspective on some topics than we do in the United States.

A Different View of the Constitution

Dec 20, 2013

I was listening the other day to the Diane Rehm Show on Aspen Public Radio.  It was the Friday news round-up and the conversation included, as it often has over the last three months, the roll-out of the Affordable Care Act.  I was startled to hear one of the listeners who called into the show assert that the reelection of President Obama in 2012 meant that there could be no questioning of the ACA by any other branch of government, particularly by the majority Republican House of Representatives.  The President had won, this was his signature piece of legislation and that was that

The New Health Care Reality

Nov 26, 2013

About three years ago, a relative of mine went to the emergency room at Aspen Valley Hospital with stroke-like symptoms.  He did not have health insurance because of a pre-existing condition and he did not have the ability to pay for emergency health care, but the hospital treated him nevertheless.  Following a battery of tests, he was discharged from the hospital with a hefty bill.  The hospital gave him three choices:  pay the bill immediately in a lump sum and get a 20% discount; pay the face amount of the bill in installments over a period of a year; or declare himself a charity case a

Why did the ballot measures fail?

Nov 8, 2013

Traveling throughout the Roaring Fork Valley in the days leading up to the November 5 election, I was impressed by the slick signs trumpeting two of this year’s ballot issues in Pitkin County: “Vote YES on Amendment 66” and “Vote YES on Questions 4C and 4D.”  Amendment 66 was, of course, the statewide financing proposal for public education that would have raised the income tax rate for all Coloradans, by 8% for those making $75,000 or less a year and by 27% for people making above that amount.  Questions 4C and 4D were about a new recreation center in the mid-valley Crown Mountain Park and