WHY THE LONG FACE? Just when you thought the News Corp. phone hacking story couldn’t get any stranger, it came out Tuesday that Scotland Yard loaned a horse to former News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks. Raisa, a 22-year-old retired police horse, went to live with Brooks post-retirement. “Scotland Yard,” writes John F. Burns, “issued a statement on Tuesday describing the horse loan as routine.”
> Now that a day has passed, British papers not owned by Rupert Murdoch are not giving up on the story of a powerful editor borrowing a horse from a police force her paper covers. The Telegraph quotes a police spokesperson: “When the horse was returned Raisa was regarded by officers from Mounted Branch to be in a poor but not serious condition.” The Independent explains how the horse came to be transferred from “a retirement paddock in Norfolk” to Brooks’ farm in Chipping Norton, where, a propos of nothing but at this point you never know, Brooks is neighbors with “Top Gear” host Jeremy Clarkson.
> Murdoch, on Twitter: “Now they are complaining about R Brooks saving an old horse from the glue factory!” Yep, Twitter had fun with that one.
• Lots of folks touting Maine Rep. Chellie Pingree as a potential replacement for suddenly retiring Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe. Dylan Byers writes about Pingree’s media connection: Her husband, Donald Sussman, is an investor in and on the board of MaineTodayMedia, which owns several newspapers in Vacationland: The Portland Press Herald, the Kennebec Journal, the Waterville Morning Sentinel, the Coastal Journal, and the Maine Sunday Telegram, the Press Herald’s Sunday paper. Last Wednesday, MediaWire’s morning roundup pointed you to an editorial by Roger Katz in the Bangor Daily News that worried about Sussman’s influence.
• VIDA counts bylines and authors reviewed at book-reviewing publications like the Atlantic, The New Yorker, the Nation, and others, and finds that women consistently get less of the pie chart. The New York Times’ book reviewers count approaches parity (female-male ratio there: 368:448); only Granta has more women than men with bylines. || Related: Last year’s chart. | “Why women don’t contribute to opinion pages as often as men & what we can do about it”
• Many grammar cops attempted a citizen’s arrest of the Los Angeles Times for using the phrase “just deserts” in a print headline. It should be “just desserts,” the masses screamed! The paper is correct, writes Mignon Fogarty: “It has everything to do with the word “deserve” and nothing to do with sugary treats.”
• AND FINALLY BECAUSE IT’S LEAP DAY: The kicker of this story abruptly reminds us it’s not fun for everyone.
For most people, February 29 is a quirky extra day to enjoy life but for at least one person it’s Doomsday. Arizona death row inmate Robert Henry Moormann, 63, is scheduled to be executed on Leap Day for beating, stabbing and strangling his adoptive mother and dismembering her body during a “compassionate furlough” from prison to visit her in 1984.
Correction: VIDA counted all of Granta’s bylines, not just its book reviews.