Mistakes? I've made a few

20141213-Katherine-Kane
Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane.

YO, READERS, make any mistakes at work during the year now ending?

I did.

Did you 'fess up? Or cover up? Or blame somebody else?

Come on, now. Be honest. Everyone makes mistakes.

As American pop-icon/philosopher/twerker Miley Cyrus sang in 2007 (back when she was Hannah Montana), "Nobody's Perfect."

So, I offer my annual confession of imperfection.

It's done on the theory that anyone with a public voice is responsible for what he or she says, writes, tweets, blogs, sings or otherwise communicates to the world at large.

So, forgive me, readers. Here's where I went wrong.

* In a January "Baer Growls" blog about where U.S. presidents were born, I noted that Pennsylvania had only one native son win the White House (James Buchanan, 1857-1861) but that our state still has possibilities.

Joe Biden was born in Scranton, Rand Paul in Pittsburgh and Newt Gingrich in Harrisburg.

Except I wrote "New" Gingrich; which, for many, is a great idea but in reality just a mistake. Maybe my typing reflected, you know, wishful thinking.

(Oh, and I did not miss Rick Santorum. Who does? But he was born in Virginia.)

* In a February column on the fifth anniversary of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (the federal stimulus program aimed at preventing another depression) I erred in identifying one person quoted.

While some praised the program for stopping bad things, Gene Barr, Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry chief, was less than impressed with its results.

But I wrote that he was appointed to the state's stimulus oversight commission by Gov. Corbett. He was appointed by Gov. Rendell. There is a difference. I goofed.

* In late June, I urged the state Senate to vote for a House-passed bill cutting the size of the House from 203 to 153 (hey, it's a start).

But in a moment of brain-freeze on an issue I've written 100 times about, I suggested that Gov. Corbett would sign such a measure if the Senate approved it.

Not true. It was a bill to change the state constitution. The governor, any governor, has no say. It's up to lawmakers, then voters in a statewide referendum. And it's up to me to get it right.

* In August, I wrote about abuse of legislative expenses using a story first reported by Harrisburg CBS21 TV's Christopher Papst.

The story focused on former Lackawanna County Rep. Jim Wansacz, a Democrat, who evidently used unregulated, no-receipts-required, taxpayer-provided expenses to buy a house in Harrisburg years ago, then sell it for a $43,000 personal profit.

Great story. Doggedly reported. I used it to stress how our Legislature allows its members to do any damn thing they please with your money.

Thing is? Instead of writing Papst I wrote Pabst, like the beer. Again, wishful thinking or plain stupidity. Either way, I was wrong.

* Finally, blogging earlier this month about Pennsylvania's current pol-in-a-hole, Attorney General Kathleen Kane, I inadvertently made a typo that, although an error, kinda made sense.

I riffed on Kane's calls for transparency in government even as she was denying access to details on fees paid by her office (of 180 lawyers) to outside lawyers.

I quoted Kane: "The public has a right to know what public officials are doing or not doing with tax dollars."

Except it went on the Web as "pubic officials." Musta been thinking about all that porn she uncovered.

I should note that all these flops were corrected online and/or in print when they happened. But such corrections often get missed, and I think there's value in outing errors at the level they were committed.

So, join me in a toast to imperfection - and unending efforts to overcome it.


Email: baerj@phillynews.com

Blog: ph.ly/BaerGrowls

Columns: ph.ly/JohnBaer