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!


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

The DNC and the VOC Moon: Sasha Says

I just received such a well-written and thoughtful comment from Sasha, who claims to be a dabbler, that I’m putting it up as a post, not just as a comment. You may recall that Sasha commented on my post “What Time Does the Democratic National Convention Really Start?” Over to you, Sasha:

Well, it’s Wednesday, Aug. 27, and we will see if the Democrats are able to nominate their candidate without the moon being void-of course (VOC). A check of the schedule for today’s convention events indicates that the nominations and roll call vote are supposed to take place between 3 and 5 p.m. MDT (5-7 p.m. EDT).

The Moon is expected to go VOC at 6:13 p.m. MDT (8:13 EDT). If Barack Obama is nominated by acclamation or possibly even on a first ballot with a full roll call vote, then the Democrats will have dodged the bullet. If there is a floor fight, then I suspect all bets are off. While Hillary Clinton may have conceded, many of her supporters haven’t.

A new chart set for 3:01 p.m. 8/27/08 offers only slightly differences from the Democratic National Convention opening day chart with one exception. On Monday, Aug. 25, Pluto and the Moon opposed each other. Today, they are inconjunct (150 degrees), with Pluto retrograde at 28 degrees of Sagittarius and the Moon at 26 degrees of Cancer.

On the Astrology Weekly Web site, this aspect starts off with the following explanation: “The inconjunct between the Moon and Pluto indicates a personality that is precariously balanced. ” The same could be said about the situation between Obama and Hillary supporters.

At this aspect is described as: “You confuse intensity with desire, and need with love. As a consequence of this, your relationships with others (especially romantic partners) can be powerful and ‘spicy’ without engendering much closeness. It takes time for you to recognize the habits that get in the way of intimacy; it takes time to alter them once recognized. Letting go of negative history lays the groundwork for change. Give others permission to be different than everyone else has been before. Through this, you give yourself permission to be different.”

I believe that it could be said of the convention that powerful emotions are at work and the calls for unity are not bringing about the desired “closeness” at this point. Either the Hillary supporters need to let go (acclamation vote) or the Obama supporters need to let the Hillary supporters be different (a full roll call vote).

The Mercury-Pluto square also mirrors the competing voices clamoring for attention at the convention: “You are very incisive and aggressive with your opinions. You have a tendency towards fanaticism and often want to impose your ideas on others, sometimes in a subtle manner and sometimes more imperatively” (also from the Web site). This aspect also seems to be contradictory to the implications of the Pluto-Moon inconjunct — Hillary supporters won’t let go; Obama supporters try to close down the opposition.

This link at AstrologyWeekly goes into further detail and deserves a read IMO as it sums up the convention situation.

This is a crude analysis on my part as I am not an astrologer myself, just a dabbler. I have borrowed heavily from others’ work and hope I have credited their efforts sufficiently.

The Heart of Hillary

Unfortunately, these keynote convention speeches conflict with my day job’s night hours. I’ve been catching up with them the next morning via streaming video on the Web. My AstroChatter Radio colleague, Pamela Cucinell, was watching Hillary Clinton last night and posted this at her site.

Pamela says Hillary wore orange. I wonder if she’s been talking to the Dalai Lama about power colors.

Michelle Obama’s Moment to Shine

A lot has been written about Barack Obama’s wife, Michelle, and most of it hasn’t been very nice. Furthermore, the photographers who seemed determined to make Hillary Clinton look pear-shaped like to catch Michelle Obama in a pout or a scowl.

Well, tonight I think she’s going to positively shine at the Democratic National Convention. There will be no stopping the Democratic candidate’s wife, as transiting Venus and Mercury in Virgo trine her Capricorn Sun. With the Virgo emphasis, I think Michelle will make inroads with female working-class voters who supported Hillary but haven’t yet jumped on board the Obama bandwagon.

Here’s Michelle’s natal chart (no time of birth), courtesy of Astrodienst, with transits for today.

Transiting Neptune is on her natal Saturn tonight so I think she’ll be able to soften her hard-nosed image, and it’s traveling with the North Node and Chiron, so I think she’ll strike a chord with the public.

There might be some technical disruption as transiting Saturn is sitting between her natal Uranus/Pluto. Will she face a TelePrompTer malfunction the way her husband did in Bristol, Va. on June 5? I wouldn’t be surprised. But I predict whatever happens, she’s going to come out smelling like a rose.

Rush Limbaugh (my birthday twin but not the same year) is speculating that Michelle is pregnant and that she’ll mention it tonight in her speech. Interesting that both Limbaugh and Michelle are Capricorns. If Michelle is indeed expecting, it would be a good reflection of the Moon/Mars on the Ascendant opposing Uranus on the Descendant in her husband’s solar return.

In my post on Obama’s solar return, I noted that Reinhold Ebertin’s The Combination of Stellar Influences says Moon/Mars equals Uranus can be a “sudden experience in a woman’s life.” That prompted commenter Mandelay to predict that Michelle would have a baby in the White House the way that Jacqueline Kennedy did.

Maybe an Obama pregnancy is what the Democratic candidate needs to show voters that he’s got cojones.

The Death of a Democratic Superdelegate

I thought I was paranoid, but check out what Eric Francis at PlanetWaves has to say about the untimely death of superdelegate Stephanie Tubbs Jones at age 58 a few days before the Democratic National Convention.

The first black woman to represent Ohio in Congress, Tubbs Jones was an outspoken critic of the Iraq War. Here’s what’s troubling Hudson Valley astrologer Francis: Tubbs Jones had switched her allegiance from Hillary Clinton to Barack Obama. Well, so did I after Hillary conceded. Nevertheless, Francis’ post makes for fascinating reading.

Here’s the New York Times obituary on the Congresswoman if you want to know more.

The Astrology of the Democratic National Convention

Astrologers have begun to look at the constellations surrounding the Democratic National Convention, which begins Aug. 25 in Denver. I haven’t weighed in on this myself, but I plan to after I put my niece and nephew on a plane on July 16.

In the meantime, here’s a link to Elsa P.’s blog, which has a thread going on the subject.

Jude’s Threshold also has a page on the convention and is inviting readers to comment.

I encourage readers to post their comments at Elsa and Jude’s site and to comment here, if you’d like. The chart has a grand mutable cross formed by the opposition of Venus/Mercury on the Ascendant in Virgo and Pisces on the Descendant crossed by the opposition of Moon in Gemini and Pluto in Sagittarius, depending on what time you use for the Aug. 25 chart. Sounds like a recipe for lots of surprises!

I’m not the first person to have observed this, but that Venus/Mercury conjunction rising indicates a woman will be making some important remarks. With Uranus opposing the conjunction, the comments may be construed as controversial. So what woman will be talking? Hillary Clinton? Nancy Pelosi? Michelle Obama?

It’s safe to say a woman will have center stage at the convention. You know how I like to go out on a limb. I don’t think it’s Hillary, but perhaps Barack Obama will ask a woman to be his vice-presidential candidate.

All Hail YSL, King of the Pantsuit

I’ve just read that fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent has died at the age of 71. Here’s the AP story, via Yahoo!:

It’s fitting that my headline calls the designer a “king” since he was a regal Leo. Looking quickly at his chart, a couple of things jump out at me: YSL died as Jupiter was transiting his Moon in Capricorn, which opposed his natal Mars/Pluto conjunction in Cancer. Astrologers know that when people die, it usually looks as if they are going on a long journey. If I were reading Saint Laurent’s chart, I probably would have predicted that he was moving into a big new home.

It’s the charts of the people who loved the deceased individual that typically have transits indicating sorrow or separation, usually involving Saturn and/or Neptune.

Interesting that the man who made it socially acceptable for women to wear pantsuits had the Moon, which rules women, in Capricorn, the sign of the boss. Perhaps his mother wore the pants in the family from a psychological point of view.

Saint Laurent’s Leo Sun was conjunct Juno, the asteroid that rules fashion and the arts. His Sun was also quite close to Mercury and Venus in Leo, which may have explained why he was much beloved (Venus) by the media (Mercury). Jupiter in Sagittarius in the 10th house of fame and recognition trined his Leo lineup of planets, expanding his presence in the world.

Although he is remembered for his sophisticated pantsuits, YSL’s Jupiter in Sag trining his Mercury, acted as a cultural messenger, bringing various ethnic and historic influences into modern-day department stores. For instance, in the late 1970s, his collections featured styles inspired by the Ballet Russes (1976), Morocco (1977), and Gypsies (1978), according to this history of fashion Web site:

YSL’s flair for the theatrical helped make the fall and spring designer shows in Paris, New York, Rome, and London what they are today — spectacles where the rich, famous, and beautiful jockey for the best seats along the runway.

Here’s YSL’s chart, courtesy of Astrotheme, which has a time of birth of 7:45 p.m. in Oran, Algeria, on Aug. 1, 1936:

Astrotheme uses biographies from the Wiki, which says YSL suffered a nervous breakdown in 1962, following hazing by fellow soldiers while serving a required stint in the French military. Today, this kind of harassment would be called gay-bashing.

I don’t have time to look this up right now, but if memory serves me correctly there was a big Aquarius lineup in February, 1962, which some people believe foreshadowed the death of JFK, but that’s another story. Here’s what Eric Francis at PlanetWaves has to say about that historic Aquarian moment:

This Aquarius lineup was most likely on YSL’s Ascendant, because the Astrotheme/Wiki bio says he underwent shock therapy, though this also could have been brought about by a transit of Uranus in Leo to his Sun or Descendant.

Shortly after his nervous breakdown, YSL launched his fashion business with the financial backing of Pierre Berge. It was Berge, his former lover and longtime partner, who announced YSL’s death on June 1. Perhaps it was Saint Laurent’s steady Moon in Capricorn that led to such a lasting collaboration with a money guy. There’s no question that Berge’s financial acumen helped propel the designer to the top of the fashion world.

Like many Juno-ruled “industries,” fashion is a combination of art and commerce. You can’t have one without the other, as Frank Sinatra once sang about love and marriage. The house of Dior, which YSL took over at the age of 21, was fortunate to have had both.

So the next time you see Hillary Clinton wearing a pantsuit, even if it’s to announce her exit from the U.S. Presidential race, know that it wouldn’t have happened without Yves Saint Laurent.

Hillary’s Finest Hour

I’m sitting in the Houston airport with my back to the TV. I’m not sure what time American Idol comes on in this time zone (what time zone am in, anyway?) so I assumed that the deafening applause I just heard was for the two Davids competing on tonight’s Idol. I was wrong. The noise came from supporters of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton before she delivered her victory speech in Kentucky.

Throughout the campaign, when friends have asked me who I think will win the Democratic nomination, I’ve consistently said I don’t know. However, I’ve always been sure that the worse things looked for Hillary, the better she would perform. Why? Because she’s a Scorpio, and natives of this sign don’t give up until they’re dead.

Hillary  was born Oct. 26, 1947 in Chicago. Her birth time hasn’t been confirmed, but StarIQ’s Michael WolfStar uses an 8 a.m. time. Here’s the chart:  

Pundits such as New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd have commented on Hillary’s shape-shifting on the campaign trail. I think that has been due to transiting Neptune in Aquarius squaring her Mercury in Scorpio and forming the fourth part of a grand fixed cross in her chart. If she had become what Dowd dubbed “the Scranton gal” earlier this year, she might have sewn up the nomination by tapping into the rising frustration of working-class voters as Saturn transits Virgo.

She’s become so much more comfortable in her skin over the past couple of months. I’m glad she ditched the black pantsuits that she wore during her New York senatorial campaign for more flattering jewel colors. (No, I don’t think it’s sexist to comment on what a candidate, male or female, is wearing in a campaign that is so image-driven.) I really wanted to believe her last night when she declared, “As Kentucky goes, so goes the nation.” But I don’t think she really believed it herself. It was a joke she was sharing with us.

Even though we don’t have a time of birth for Hillary, many astrologers are expecting her to drop out of the campaign when transiting Uranus hits her Moon in Aquarius, which could be any day now, depending on what chart you’re using for her. Today, transiting Uranus in Pisces is sextile Jupiter in Capricorn, lighting up Hillary’s natal Moon in Pisces and electrifying her Mercury in Scorpio.  Her star has never shined as brightly. But is it a shooting star?