Warren Buffett is Not a Buffet

With the Dow Jones industrial average closing down today 678 points, to 8,579 (a 7% drop), you’d think I’d have something better to rant about than the repeated misspelling of Warren Buffett’s name.

As I like to point out to my astropals, even though the Oracle of Omaha has a cornucopia-like Jupiter/Pluto conjunction in Cancer, he is not a “buffet.”

This past week, Buffett’s name has been misspelled by everyone from astrologer Michael WolfStar at StarIQ to The Wall Street Journal, which got the name wrong in an opinion piece by Vernon L. Smith called “There’s no easy way out of a bubble.”

Even though there’s no easy way out of a bubble, there is an easy way to spell Warren Buffett’s name right. Just say to yourself: Warren is not a “buffet.”

Got that, “fellow prisoners”?

Mercury Retrograde: John McCain Does the Time Warp

Astrologers know that John McCain is a Virgo and the planetary ruler of his sign, Mercury, is in retrograde phase right now. That means its apparent motion, when viewed from the earth, is backward.

Well, McCain appears to be doing his own version of the Time Warp. The Wall Street Journal reported that the GOP Presidential candidate and former prisoner of war addressed a crowd in Pennsylvania as “my fellow prisoners”.

Perhaps he meant “prisoners of debt.” According to the U.S. National Debt Clock, outstanding public debt as of today is $10.2 trillion, and each American’s share of this is $33,547.65. In fact, our debt is so great that the National Debt Clock in Times Square doesn’t have enough digits to report it, according to the Associated Press.

My fellow astrologers, it gets even better. It turns out the blog item on the WSJ’s Web site has a mistake in it. It calls McCain “the Republican vice-presidential candidate” when, of course, he is running for President. I’m sure they’ll fix it soon, but gaffes abound during Mercury retrograde.

Along similar lines, I was reading a fascinating article in this month’s issue of Vanity Fair about Ingrid Betancourt that is missing a byline. In the text of the story, it talks about a school being named for the author, Maureen Orth, the widow of broadcast journalist Tim Russert. Somebody reading those galleys wasn’t doing his job. Orth’s byline is on the Web version of the story, though.

Note to Astrology Bloggers: Hit the Return Key!

Pamela Cucinell and I did our BlogTalkRadio call-in show at noon today.

Pamela has some groovy new music in the beginning of the broadcast, which is actually a podcast, and we had folks on the phone and in the chat rooms today.

Was it Jupiter and Pluto going direct or the new music that brought in the newcomers? (The first few bars of the AstroChatter Radio theme remind me of the intro to K.C. and the Sunshine Band’s Get Down Tonight.)

Thanks to a phone-call from LadyFocus, we had some good discussion about how Saturn in Virgo is putting the screws to those with planetary placements in the mutable signs — Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, and Pisces. Because Saturn is being opposed by Uranus, the news that you’ve got to toe the line (Saturn) often comes as a surprise (Uranus).

As anyone who heard what Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan said about Sarah Palin after she thought the mic was off, the best stuff gets said off the air.

Here’s what Pamela and I decided after our broadcast was over: Most bloggers don’t know when to hit the return key. If a paragraph is more than three sentences, it’s time to start a new one.

Think of your poor readers (like us!). We love your blogs but our eyes are getting bleary.

I know how to hit the return key, but I have to learn to keep my sentences short on the air. I’m working on it.

Citizen Murdoch

I used to work for an Australian who had a chip on his shoulder. Let’s call him Stephen. He was convinced that he faced discrimination in New York media circles because, get this, he was Australian. I thought this was hilarious since so many Aussies, including News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch, have done quite well for themselves in Gotham.

Stephen was an unlikely Australian. He drank sparingly, laughed little, and dressed very neatly. Even though he was born in a country where they like to say, “No worries, mate,” Stephen worried all the time. In essence, he was the opposite of the Aussie stereotype. Stephen had been a reporter for the New York Post, a paper owned by Murdoch, and was obsessed with his fellow countryman. (Yeah, I know, Murdoch’s got an American passport, but his Australian upbringing is apparent in little things like the name of Fox 5’s morning show, Good Day, New York,  as in “G’day, mate.”) 

I never found out what was behind Stephen’s obsession with Murdoch, and it never occurred to me to ask. My impression was that he thought the American media were giving the media mogul a free ride, not really questioning  how a publicly traded company was being run as a family business. On Wall Street, they would say that Stephen had some concerns about News Corp.’s “governance issues.” 

Stephen ended up at the Wall Street Journal, which was recently taken over by Murdoch. Now that’s irony, if you ask me. I can’t imagine that the self-hating Aussie is happy about Murdoch’s meddling with the WSJ‘s winning formula. That interference led to today’s resignation of Marcus Brauchli, the paper’s managing editor. Here’s a link to an AP story about Brauchli:

http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/080422/wall_street_journal_editor.html?.v=11

Murdoch’s also been in the news the last couple of days for his plan to buy Newsday, the profitable Long Island tabloid that has been losing circulation under the stewardship of Tribune Co.  

Now, Murdoch has done so many things in his life, and News Corp. owns so many different properties that you could write a book. Others have, but I don’t have time for that right now.  I’m going to settle for a quickie astro reading.

Like some other present and former media moguls (John Malone, Michael Eisner), Murdoch is a Pisces. He was born Mar. 11, 1931 in Melbourne, Australia, at 11:55 p.m. His Sun is conjunct Mercury, the planet of communications, and those two Pisces planets make a favorable trine to a stellium of Jupiter, Pluto, and Mars in Cancer. All that Cancer usually means an emphasis on roots and family. Sure enough, Murdoch has expanded a business he inherited from his father and has involved his children in News Corp.’s operations.

What does Murdoch’s chart say at first glance? That he is intuitive, fortunate, expansive, and ruthless. As a Pisces, he has a knack for living his life in tune with the zeitgeist, doing things like marrying a Chinese woman, Wendi Deng, just as China is becoming a global economic player.

I don’t think anyone really knows Murdoch, except maybe his mother, Dame Elisabeth Murdoch, who is still going strong at age 99. He’s got Moon in Sagittarius, and the Moon rules the women in his life. The moon is in the 12th house of the unconscious, which governs prisons, hospitals, and other institutions. I haven’t read all the Murdoch biographies, but I’d venture to say his mother has been the most influential person in his life. 

The Wiki says his father, Sir Keith Murdoch, died in 1952, while Murdoch was still in college.  I was also interested to learn that Dame Elisabeth is a tireless philanthropist who has championed such causes as improving conditions for prisoners, mental hospital patients, abandoned children, and addicts. Sounds like a 12th house Moon to me. Don’t you love astrology?

Here’s Murdoch’s chart, courtesy of Star IQ: http://www.stariq.com/Main/Articles/P0007881.HTM

Murdoch’s natal chart (a map of the planetary positions when he was born) is being lit up like Times Square by the current movements of the planets in the sky. He’s got transiting Pluto in Capricorn hanging around his Ascendant or rising. This is pushing him more heavily into business news. Some examples of this are the Dec. 13 acquisition of the WSJ,  the nation’s premier business paper, and the launch of Fox Business News on Oct. 15. Pluto didn’t move into Capricorn, which rules business, until January, but the timing is close enough for me. Murdoch is consolidating (Pluto) his position in financial media.

As electrical Uranus has made its way through Pisces, Murdoch has been awakened to the possibilities of the Internet, and News Corp. has gotten more interactive. As the company acquired the social networking site MySpace in July, 2005, for $580 million, transiting Uranus was trining Murdoch’s natal Jupiter. Oddly enough, $580 million is the amount that News Corp. is proposing to pay for Newsday. Maybe it’s Murdoch’s lucky number.

While my former boss Stephen may have believed that Murdoch was being let off easy by the media, that’s changing. Murdoch’s making enemies over at the Journal with his emphasis on shorter stories that appeal to the general public. He’s messing with a tried-and-true recipe developed by longtime WSJ managing editor Barney Kilgore (http://www.opinionjournal.com/about/kilgore.html), and the Journal’s defenders of the faith resent it.

The fears about Murdoch’s tabloid tendencies were behind an April Fool’s Day parody of the WSJ featuring a bare-breasted photo of conservative poster girl Ann Coulter (thanks to the wonders of PhotoShop). The satire was designed to skewer Murdoch’s conservative politics and his appeal to the lowest common denominator, as evidenced by the racy photos that appear in his British tabloids.

Here’s the link to the sendup: http://wsjparody.com/ 

In the small world department, the voice on the Web site that’s supposed to be Murdoch’s sounds like that of another former Australian boss of mine who also used to work for the Post, and no, I don’t think all Aussies sound alike. What kind of sheila do you think I am?

If you liked that sendup, here’s a funny riff on MySpace, another News Corp. property: http://americancomedynetwork.com/animation.html?bit_id=25239

O.K., back to business. On a macro level, Murdoch could run into some regulatory opposition to the Newsday acquisition because of the proximity of its Long Island base to the Post’s New York City territory. However, the Federal Communications Commission has been loosening up the laws regarding media ownership so maybe this won’t be a problem the way it might have in the old days.  

Certainly, there are a lot of people out there who think Murdoch’s global empire is beyond the control of any government or regulatory authority, and they’re probably right. With Saturn approaching Murdoch’s Virgo Midheaven, I think criticism of him is going to get louder. Will it bother him? Not in the least. That’s a great thing about being a Pisces. You can live in your own little (or in Murdoch’s case, big) world.