Southern Perlo

Stories/Insights/Open Views


Charleston, South Carolina, USA
July 09
History Teller/Griot
Charleston Perlo
Walter Rhett attended Ohio State University, studied non-fiction at Johns Hopkins and NYU, and writes from Charleston, SC. He writes about national and global affairs with an eye on southern history and culture and actively listens to his readers. His writing combines speed, thoroughness, authority, discovery, seriousness, and humor.


Walterrhett's Links
SEPTEMBER 5, 2013 1:22PM

Syria And The Nobel

Because I stand firmly against conflict violence, I support the President’s plan for missile strikes against Syria.

Even before the hands fly to ask why, the fingers pointing tick off the bewildering absurdity of opposing violence by supporting military intervention!

Next, they point… Read full post »

On the day after one of the biggest mea culpas in sports, the Oprah interview with Lance Armstrong, the efforts to delegitimize President Obama in his second term have increased their velocity and are becoming more extreme and desperate. The efforts are also bigger and more ridiculous. And sad and… Read full post »

APRIL 17, 2011 7:05PM

Budgetmaster "P" Spinning the Tables

Paul Ryan’s budget has solicited a lot of adjectives. From ”sweet sounding,” (a Democratic Congress member referring to its lure) to “bold, “honest,” (American Thinker), “brave” (a CNNOpinion writer), “wise,” “refreshing.” (Reaso… Read full post »

FEBRUARY 14, 2011 8:48AM

Blame and Our Inner Blindness

The President and the Speaker of the House at the State of the Union

In a time when truth is associated with consistency, it's easy to be consistent if your only position is to always blame others. If everybody else is wrong, then you must be right. Republicans stumbled on… Read full post »

Cairo, Cairo, Egypt
Egypt is an economics lesson being missed. The classic models of the interplay between income, exports, government spending, investment, interest rates and banking reserves fall woefully short in understanding or interpreting the economic clash for power taking place in EgRead full post »
JANUARY 25, 2011 6:38PM

The Social Security Smoke Screen

Zane and Tex Bonnet; Nevada, 1979.Zane and Tex Bonnet; Nevada, 1979.

The idea of a safety net programs is a strange tale of a long ago American government, now out of fashion. Strong political forces and bad arguments are aligned against the poor. Strong political and private forces are after social security and its enormous… Read full post »

McIntosh County, ND School and Polling Place, 1940
McIntosh County, ND School and Polling Place, 1940

The idea of a safety net or programs for the poor is a strange tale of a long ago American government, now out of fashion. Strong political forces and bad arguments are aligned against the poor. Unorganized, they are easy political target… Read full post »

DECEMBER 1, 2010 6:04PM

The Zimbabwe Cable

(Writer's note: this post provides multi-faceted background on Zimbabwe, whose President, Robert Mugabe, was assessed in the July 2007 final cable of the American ambassador. The post contains the full content of the cable. But is the post multi-faceted background or just meandering summaryRead full post »

NOVEMBER 29, 2010 8:05AM

Cutting Against the Grain

California Pea Pickers, 1938.

California Pea Pickers, 1938.

Every policy maker and politician has a story about the economy. The crosstalk of all these stories can be confusing. Sometimes on the same day, are contrasting arguments and articles about the dangers of inflation, deflation, debt, stimulus, deficits, and comp/… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 23, 2010 7:35AM

No Blood, Just Charts!

Factories and Houses, 1942.

  Nobel laureate Paul Krugman says in his New York Times column today that the pending political crisis could deepen if the government makes the wrong policy decisions. He forecasts castrophic damage to families and workers and believes the appropriate analogyRead full post »

Duluth, MN, 1871Duluth, MN, 1871. Library of Congress

“No taxation without representation;” the cry of the founding fathers now stands on its head. Now the governing representatives simply proclaim, “no taxes.” The caveat in the fine print seems to be “except for the middle clas… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 8, 2010 7:44AM

#See the Lambs, All A-Crying"

Picking Cotton in California, 1938.Picking Cotton in California, 1938.

Those who practice the politics of suffering strike blows intended to wound every good effort to increase economic demand. Without increased demand, there will be no jobs growth. But the Chicken Littles who proclaim the sky is falling look only in one direct

Read full post »
NOVEMBER 4, 2010 8:06PM

Keep Count of My Tossings

54th Reunion of African Jubilee, 1909. Library of Congress Archives. 

Bob Hubert's column today ( represents one of the most important wake up calls ever published by an American news organization that doesn't involve death or crimes. But the damage described here is much more insidious. On the eve of the American elections

Read full post »
NOVEMBER 1, 2010 7:22AM

"Be Lifted Up, O Ancient Doors"

blog post photo

     In a $14 trillion economy, still the world’s largest, just a few days after Ford announced record profits of $1.69 billion for the quarter, and even after Bank of America posted $3.1 billion in profits in Q2 2010, one would think the idea of scary convers
Read full post »

OCTOBER 23, 2010 7:16AM

The Right to be a Bigot

Good riddance! Juan Williams, a journalist formerly with the Washington Post, who authored the companion book to the PBS special, "Eyes on the Prize," and who was frequently seen on Fox News and heard on NPR was fired as a news analyst by NPR. Juan was arrogant and out of touch.… Read full post »

OCTOBER 17, 2010 4:39PM

Unembraceable You

History and America are filled with single minded women in hot pursuit of making a mark in the rites of politics and taking the reins of power in epochal times, the archetypes of the era's innocent and evil, loopy and guile. Cleopatra whose soft spoken wiles betrayed a laser focus on co-opting… Read full post »

OCTOBER 2, 2010 6:32PM

Nothing Finer, Carolina!

South Carolina! Nothing could be finer than the politics of the first state to secede from the Union even before Lincoln formally took office. SC provided the nation with two of its first four chief executives, Presidents of the Continental Congress Henry Middleton and Henry Laurens. Laurens was one… Read full post »

OCTOBER 1, 2010 10:03AM

Is Austerity the New Prosperity?

David Brooks recent New York Times column praises the emergence of Republican governor budget slashers, lauding their "deft" managing skills, corporation experience, and tough stances with state legislatures. Below are my revised remarks that appears as a comment (# 2) on his post (httRead full post »

SEPTEMBER 22, 2010 9:37AM

Feedback About An Uneven Performance

One of the problems with deciphering Barack Obama and his administration's behavior is that any model or insight runs into cross currents generated by Republicans and those who seem to be naturally cynic.

It is obvious from the appearances and messages of the Administration that it is hesitant… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 8, 2010 4:27PM

Mississippi Zen

Haley Barbour is a skilled insider within the GOP, one of the few remaining officials who established the GOP as the political party of the South. Winning matters deeply to him as does his legacy and Republican control of the South. The South is a region with the world's 5th largest… Read full post »

So far, Obama and his advisors have jettisoned the serious political tasks of setting an economic policy that will stimulate job growth. Like the dispatches of Union generals during the Civil War, they seem more interested in establishing intermediate points where victory can be declared, decisions d… Read full post »

It is no different today than when the masses thought the world was flat. The deep seated views of what is "truth" is based often on how frequently something--anything--is repeated and how many others embrace it. And if the illogic resonates, the half measures are held as canons. Those that suggest… Read full post »

AUGUST 28, 2010 7:32AM

Beck Rallies to Capture the Dream

Marx would either laugh or be terribly preplexed by what has been wrought from his dialectic. With all his bluster, Glenn Beck has gone to the National Mall and now stood Marx on his head.


The American debate on race, and by default civil rights, has developed a double moral, behaviorial… Read full post »

AUGUST 27, 2010 9:58AM

Gay and GOP

This blog begins with a musical interlude; sampled lyrics from "Send in the Clowns:"
Isn't it bliss?
Don't you approve?
One who keeps tearing around,
One who can't move. . .
Don't you love farce?
My fault I fear.
I thought that you'd want what I want.
Sorry, my dear. . .
Maybe next year.

All of the denial… Read full post »

AUGUST 26, 2010 2:11PM

Two for One: Regulation and Elections

A double feature today.

(I) As ad agencies know, one of the best selling tools is fear. Fear is set in the future, with unforeseen consequences, always ending in apocalyptic circumstances--in the case of the drilling moratorium, dispossessed families, starving children, a collapsed economy, empty… Read full post »