David vs. David, Part II

Remember earlier this year how David Cook and David Archuleta were vying to be the next American Idol?

I wasn’t as lucky in calling that contest as I was in picking the Philadelphia Phillies over the Tampa Bay Rays in the World Series. I thought Archuleta would win by a hair. But my friend and commenter Chris got it right by looking at the asteroid Juno.

Now, the two Davids are duking it out on the airwaves with their rival debut albums, according to the New York Post.

Back on May 16, when I wrote about the two singers, they both had their progressed Suns close to 24 degrees of Capricorn, even though Cook is a Sagittarius and Archuleta is a Capricorn and they were born eight years apart.

Of course, a few months later their Suns are still moving in synch. Here’s Archuleta’s chart, courtesy of Astrodienst, with transits and progressions as of Nov. 2. And here’s Cook’s horoscope, with the same parameters.

As transiting Jupiter closes in on their respective progressed Suns, both Davids should be topping the charts through the end of the year. One might say their continued “rivalry” will help them both.

All Charged Up About Scranton

Something’s happening with Scranton. It started with the U.S. version of The Office, which is set in the “Electric City,” the nickname Scranton gave itself in 1886 after becoming home to the nation’s first electrified trolley system.

Then, at the end of Hillary Clinton’s candidacy, when New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd dubbed her the “Scranton gal” because Clinton had struck a chord with Wal-Mart Moms, Scranton got another notch in its tattered belt.

The hometown of Delaware Senator Joe Biden, Scranton received some more high-voltage exposure over the weekend, thanks to the hilarious vice-presidential debate routine on Saturday Night Live.

In the skit, Biden, played by actor Jason Sudeikis, runs Scranton through the mud, calling it a “hell hole,” among other things, to establish his working-class street cred. From Scranton’s point of view, though, any publicity is good publicity.

While trawling the Net this morning, I discovered a T-shirt for a Police cover band called Scrantonicity on the Snorg Tees Web site that’s at the top of this post. Commenter Marge informs me that Scrantonicity is a “fake” Police cover band that Kevin from TV’s The Office plays in.

Still, the “icity” suffix in Scrantonicity suggests a Uranus transit for the hardscrabble city in Northeastern Pennsylvania, as does all the TV and Internet coverage. (Uranus is associated with electricity.)

Carolyn Dodson’s Horoscopes of the U.S. shows a Scranton chart with Neptune rising at 15 degrees of Virgo, just past a 14 degree Ascendant. The chart is set for noon on June 2, 1773, when an ordinance was adopted to establish the town. The noon time suggests that the actual time the ordinance was passed is unknown.

Even so, natal Neptune is getting an opposition from starmaker Uranus in Pisces. Bingo! Transiting Saturn is also conjuncting that Neptune as it moves toward an opposition with Uranus on Election Day. Maybe the presence of Saturn is why the buzz (Uranus) surrounding Scranton is of the backhanded-compliment kind.

The natal chart has a Sun/Venus conjunction at 12 and 11 degrees of Gemini, respectively, at the Midheaven, squaring Neptune in Virgo. My brother (there’s a Gemini word for you) once observed that Scranton had more bars and churches (both ruled by Neptune) per capita than any place he had ever visited.

The chart also features a Mercury/Uranus conjunction in Taurus in the Ninth House fortunately trined by Pluto in the fifth at 22 degrees of Capricorn. That Taurus/Capricorn aspect reflects the city’s wealth from coal and its reputation as a leading industrial center from 1846 until 1945, when the city began a long steady descent. By the 1970s, the city known for generating energy by producing coal was becoming an arson capital.

In recent years, Scranton’s fortunes have been revived somewhat by good old-fashioned pork barrel, which led to the creation of a new National Park Service site called Steamtown. Founded in 1986, Steamtown is dedicated to the history of steam railroading.

Evidently, millions of taxpayer dollars are being wasted to maintain Steamtown and its attendance figures have fallen short of the mark. Still, it’s a feather in Scranton’s newsboy cap.

In the spirit of disclosure, especially since the SNL skit labeled Scranton as a “genetic cesspool,” my grandfather emigrated from a part of Austria-Hungary that is now in Ukraine and became a coal miner in Scranton. Like Biden, my father clawed his way out of Scranton, actually a “suburb” called Peckville, but his exit strategy was to join the military.

In the SNL skit, “Biden” claims to be the only good thing ever to come out of Scranton. That’s not quite true. The city has produced a Pennsylvania political dynasty for the family that gave Scranton its name as well as some exceptional athletes. Gerry McNamara, who played for the Syracuse University Orangemen from 2002 to 2006, comes to mind.

No doubt some young punk or punkette is walking Scranton’s mean streets today, with just one goal: to get out of the Electric City and see his or her name in lights. Hey, I’ve got your back. We’re from the same genetic cesspool!

Tax Trouble for Helio

Yahoo! has a story up that Brazilian heartthrob Helio Castroneves, known for his moves on the race track and the dance floor, has been indicted for tax evasion.

Helio, who won the Indy 500 in 2001 and 2002, has been charged with failing to pay $5 million in taxes over four years.

The story is short on detail. I’ll assume that it’s the Internal Revenue Service that has caught up with the Team Penske driver and that he is a U.S. citizen or at least subject to our tax laws.

I happen to have Helio’s chart in my Astrodienst database because I looked at it earlier this year before the running of the Indianapolis 500 on Memorial Day.

Helio’s progressed Sun, at 21 degrees of Gemini, is traveling quite closely with his progressed Mercury. Natally, he’s a Taurus Sun, which is sextile Mars in Pisces. The chart is set for noon on May 10, 1975 in São Paulo, Brazil, because the time of birth is unknown.

Transiting Uranus is close to a conjunction with natal Mars right now while transiting Saturn is closing in on an opposition. The progressed Sun/Mercury forms a T-square to this opposition.

Transiting Mars was conjuncting Helio’s Uranus in Libra as the tax evasion charges were announced, not a good transit for partnerships or legal matters.

The transiting Aquarius stellium is squaring Helio’s Sun, suggesting he could be involved in some kind of deception. As an astrologer, I’ll say with all that Neptune hanging around, I’m not sure Helio understood the ramifications of a scheme that was allegedly set up by his sister and his lawyer to evade taxation.

When you’re dancing with the stars, it’s hard to keep your feet on the ground. Helio and partner Julianne Hough won the fifth season of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars reality TV show last year.

Gian Paul, our Brazil bureau chief, tells us that it’s the custom in Brazil to have a caixa dois, a hidden kitty or secret stash. Let’s hope that Helio has one to take care of this tax problem.

Since Helio is not from the U.S., he may not be aware of our tax authority’s penchant for going after high-profile tax evaders and making examples of them. Maybe he should talk to Wesley Snipes for the inside scoop on how the IRS likes to play hardball with celebrities.

Helio’s head is in the clouds right now. However, with Uranus close to his Mars and Mars close to his Uranus, he could be accident-prone, so he needs to take care.

Pluto Direct in Sagittarius: Yanking the Yakkers

O.K., let me say up front that I get nearly all of my news from mainstream media Web sites and independent blogs. I disconnected my cable TV about a week ago because there’s so much streaming video on the Net.

But I’m shocked that MSNBC has yanked talking heads Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann as political news anchors. Some of my friends who supported Hillary Clinton’s Presidential bid won’t be unhappy about this decision, that’s for sure.

There’s speculation that comments about Palin led to the team’s demotion. But why was it O.K. for them to put Hillary through the wringer?

As an astrological commentator, I’m going to note that this muzzling of the media is occurring as Pluto turning direct in Sagittarius for its final pass. For those who say that Matthews and Olbermann weren’t impartial, I ask: Who is?

I’m going to leave you with these words from John Mayer:

Now if we had the power
To bring our neighbors home from war
They would have never missed a Christmas
No more ribbons on their door
And when you trust your television
What you get is what you got
Cause when they own the information, oh
They can bend it all they want

That’s why we’re waiting
Waiting on the world to change
We keep on waiting
Waiting on the world to change

Geena Davis Will Play Sarah Palin in the Movie

Somebody else in the blogosphere may have noticed this resemblance, but after watching Sarah Palin’s speech last night at the Republican National Convention, it suddenly dawned on me who she reminded me of.

No, not Sandra Bullock in Miss Congeniality, as suggested by New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd. No, not Saturday Night Live’s Tina Fey, as noted by StarIQ’s Michael WolfStar.

I think Sarah Palin is a dead ringer for fellow Aquarian Geena Davis, who played Mackenzie Allen, the first female President of the U.S., in the short-lived ABC TV series Commander in Chief, which ran during the 2005-06 season. According to the Wiki, Allen becomes commander-in-chief after her boss dies in office from a sudden cerebral aneurysm. Are you listening, John McCain?

Born on Jan. 21, 1956, Davis is nearly a decade older than McCain’s vice-presidential pick Palin, but is surprisingly youthful. What they both share is a toothy grin, a no-nonsense manner, and a square between an Aquarian Sun and Neptune in Scorpio (nearly exact in the case of Davis.)

You can look at Davis’ chart here.

Commander in Chief started off on a high note, and was the No. 1 rated TV show on Tuesday nights until it got knocked from the top spot by American Idol, according to the Wiki. After last night’s triumphant speech by Palin, Davis should get her agent on the phone to Disney, which owns ABC, and try to revive Commander in Chief.

But maybe life will imitate art and Palin will lose steam the way that Commander in Chief did. As numerous commentators have pointed out, Palin’s got transiting Neptune on her Aquarius stellium of Sun/Mars/Saturn, so her dreams could dissolve.

I’ve seen some provocative photos of Palin on the Net, including one where she’s wearing a tight T-shirt that says, “I may be broke, but I’m not flat busted.” This particular snapshot is being disseminated by a leftie friend of mine. For some reason, many liberals have decided that women are cheating in the battle of the sexes if they flaunt their femininity.

I’m amazed that the Madonna/whore schism is still alive and well in this country. I’ve got Moon quincunx Venus in my chart so reconciling the many faces of Eve is part of my life’s work.

With all my Sag, I can laugh at bawdy T-shirts, but I wonder whether there aren’t some racier pics or videos of the former beauty pageant contestant floating around since her natal Neptune (film) in Scorpio (sex) squares her Aquarius (Internet, collective) stellium. Still, French First Lady Carla Bruni has that issue and it hasn’t hurt her popularity.

Sarah Palin has brains, beauty, and brawn (she was nicknamed “Sarah Barracuda” for her aggressive basketball moves in high school), and she’s not afraid to use all three to get what she wants. What’s wrong with that?

I don’t share her views that abortion shouldn’t be permitted even in cases of rape and incest and that creationism should be taught in public school but not sex education. In my view, all of these beliefs surrender feminine power to a patriarchal father figure, which is consistent with Palin’s Jupiter in Aries.

This is the same aspect, incidentally, that prompted Palin to declare that U.S. troops are in Iraq on a “task that is from God.” Funny, that’s the rationale that Islamic terrorists use for their jihad against the U.S. Isn’t it great that God is on everyone’s side?

Whatever surfaces about Palin’s past, we must keep in mind that her Sun/Mars/Saturn triple conjunction in Aquarius falls on the U.S. Moon. She’s going to force us to examine our stereotypes about the role of women and highlight the contradictory beliefs about female sexuality held by conservatives and liberals alike.

What we saw last night in Palin’s speech emphasizing small-town roots and family values is the presence of her North Node at 10 degrees of Cancer on the U.S. Sun. Her message resonated with the American people.

Like the audience at the feel-good film Juno a couple of years ago, we want everything to turn out O.K. for Bristol Palin, Sarah’s 17-year-old daughter who is five months pregnant. Let’s hope Bristol gets a happy ending the way the teenage mom did in Juno.

As Maureen Dowd and others have noted, Sarah Palin is a modern-day Cinderella — a hockey mom active in the PTA who ends up as the GOP’s vice-presidential candidate. What’s not to love? I can hear my husband in the background doing his imitation of Bill Murray in Caddy Shack: “It’s a Cinderella story…”

As an astrologer and a follower of Carl Jung, I revel in mythology, symbolism, and Hollywood plots. Life does imitate art and vice versa. That’s why Frank Rich’s pedigree as a theater critic makes him such an insightful political columnist for The New York Times.

But we must not get so wrapped up in the story line that we lose sight of the 299 million extras in this larger-than-life drama — the man struggling to find work after his factory job got outsourced to China, the seniors forced to choose between paying for expensive medications or heating the house this winter, and the single mom who is raiding the piggybank to buy school supplies for her son.

We can’t afford to leave them on the cutting room floor.

The Death of Tim Russert and the Spring Equinox Chart

Hindsight is always 20-20 vision, but the sudden death of TV newscaster Tim Russert on June 13 got me thinking about the 2008 Spring Equinox chart.

That chart, set for Washington D.C., has Uranus in Pisces in the third house of media and communications square the Ascendant, a negative aspect that had Nancy over at Nancy’s Blog quite concerned about some surprising event in the nation’s capital.

Here’s the link to the chart: http://www.handclow2012.com/springequinox.htm

My post for the chart said there could be upsetting news, but that the “talking heads on TV will tell us everything will be O.K.” Obviously, I didn’t foresee that the upsetting news was going to concern one of the talking heads. In the words of the Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz: “The news swept the capital like a shock wave.” Sounds like Uranus square the Ascendant to me.

Here’s the link to my Spring Equinox post: https://astrologymundo.wordpress.com/2008/03/20/happy-new-year/

Now some people might be skeptical that you could see the death of an individual other than a king or a president in a collective chart. But I would argue that Russert, as host of Face the Nation, was an important figure on a symbolic level to the U.S. In many ways, he was larger than life.

Perhaps his passing in Washington D.C. on June 13 also had to do with Pluto’s retrograde movement back into Sagittarius. Pluto’s previous passage through Sag, which ran from 1995 to 2008, coincided with the restructuring of Big Media. TV network news programs lost viewers, while circulation for newspapers and magazines declined as more people spent time surfing the Net. The current retrograde of Pluto in Sag lasts just a few months, until Nov. 26, and will see the tying up of loose ends, meaning more layoffs for journos.

Pluto was still in the last minutes of Capricorn when Tom Brokaw told viewers of Russert’s death at 3:40 p.m. Eastern time on June 13. It didn’t touch Sag until two hours later.

But the next few hours would be dominated by media coverage of Russert’s accomplishments, which included coining the term “red state-blue state” to describe the political polarization of the U.S. As Pluto, the planet of destruction and transformation, moved back into the sign of Sag, which rules Big Media, the airwaves and the Internet were focusing on the death of a prominent journalist.

Media types and their families always get better obituaries than the general public. When a journalistic brother or sister dies, the remaining members of the media community pull out the stops. Have you ever noticed a prominent obituary in The New York Times for a seemingly ordinary woman who was active in her community and her church? You find yourself wondering why she’s getting all this space until you read the list of survivors and learn that she was the mother, wife, sister, or daughter of an editor on the paper.

Another reason for the outpouring of grief about Russert’s death: Nobody likes it when somebody’s Dad dies right before Father’s Day. This kind of thing gets sentimental media types choked up.

Speaking of obits, here’s a link to WaPo media critic Kurtz’s obituary of Russert: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/06/13/AR2008061302423_pf.html

If you’re looking for an analysis of Russert’s chart and what the transits were when he died, you’ll find a good one here: http://www.acumind.com/News/Political/RussertTim/russertt.html

Interestingly, last week also saw the death of another important media figure: groundbreaking sportscaster Jim McKay, who passed away at age 86 on June 7. McKay, best known for hosting ABC’s Wide World of Sports , leaves as his legacy his trademark description, “the thrill of victory, and the agony of defeat.” I’m pretty sure he coined the phrase because back in those days, TV’s talking heads wrote their own scripts.

By the way, there are still a few days until the Summer Solstice chart kicks in on June 20, so we’re not out of the woods in terms of an unexpected event in Washington D.C., as foreshadowed by the Spring Equinox chart. But I’m hoping Russert’s death is the last of the upsetting news.

American Idol: David vs. David

What do you do when you’re stuck in the Houston airport besides watching CNN all day? You run the charts of David Archuleta and David Cook, the two remaining contestants on American Idol. I wish had birth times for both of the singers, but I don’t. Both of these charts look so auspicious for May 21, 2008, the night the winner is announced, that it’s tough to make a call.

What’s interesting is that both rivals for the American Idol crown have their progressed Suns near 24 degrees of Capricorn, even though Cook is a Sagittarius and Archuleta is a Capricorn and they were born eight years apart.

Cook, the older and grittier performer of the two, was born Dec. 20, 1982 in Houston. Unlike many Idol competitors, he plays an instrument, the guitar. Here’s his natal chart, with progressions and transits for May 21, courtesy of Astrodienst:

Archuleta was born Dec. 28, 1990 in Miami. He kind of reminds me of the boys from Menudo. He’s one of those Latin heartthrobs that is the stuff of teenybopper dreams. Even though he’s going to be 18 this December, he seems younger to me. Sexy, but safe enough for parents to encourage the infatuation.

Here’s his chart, with transits and progressions:

After pondering both charts, I’ll predict that Archuleta wins, but by an eyelash. Even though I expect Archuleta to be the victor, based on both astrology and the rationale that tweens have nothing better to do than cast their electronic votes for the next American Idol, I think that Cook has a very promising career ahead of him. He may end up as runner-up, but he definitely won’t be a has-been after Idol is over.