OK, KIDS, it's my annual mea culpa column in which I admit to mistakes made during the year now ending. I do this for two reasons: Anyone with a public voice is responsible for accuracy; anyone who errs using that voice should correct such errors in the same format or venue in which the errors occurred.
Some of what follows was corrected in the next day's paper and/or in same-day online editions. But since such corrections are often overlooked, here's a look in full:
Earlier this month I wrote that a GOP Senate debate in New York was on a Saturday afternoon. It was on a Friday, and although, from what I hear, I may have done many a favor, there's no debating my misstep.
In February, in one of many rants against our Legislature's perks, I noted that while most Pennsylvanians pay about 10 percent of their income for health-care coverage, lawmakers pay far less. I erred, however, in the detail. I wrote that they pay 1 percent of their health-care costs. They pay 1 percent of their salary. While the point I was making remains valid, the miscue diminished the argument. It was a stupid mistake.
In a July column about a run-in at Roxy's, a deli-type joint across from the Capitol where state Health Secretary Eli Avila complained about the quality of his eggs, pulled a "do-you-know-who-I-am?" and later called in health inspectors, I wrote that inspectors found no violations.
I later was called by a top aide to Gov. Corbett (though you'd think such aides have better things to do) and told that inspectors found routine, minor violations: cleanup rags sitting in disinfectant; no restroom signs instructing employees to wash hands (though, hopefully, ALL restaurant employees are aware of this basic requirement).
But I should have written that the Roxy's inspection resulted in no fines. My bad.
In a summer column supporting the ouster of Philly schools boss Arlene Ackerman, I quoted state Rep. Mike McGeehan as the sole city legislator publicly pushing for her to go.
He said others didn't do so because it brought labels such as "racist, sexist, hate children; let's be honest here, nobody wants such labels." But Rep. Angel Cruz also publicly criticized "The Queen," a fact I should have included in the column.
In a September column on Herman Cain winning a Florida straw-poll vote, I noted that Republicans evidently don't care what their candidate for president actually knows so long as he or she is angry, loud, patriotic and maybe a little crazy.
I wrote that Cain, for example, claimed Planned Parenthood was founded to "kill black babies before they come into the world," and I added that's not the case.
I should have expanded my commentary to say some African-Americans believe it's the case, based largely on a line in a letter from abortion-rights crusader Margaret Sanger to a colleague, Dr. Clarence Gamble: "We do not want the word to get out that we want to exterminate the Negro population."
The line, I should have explained, is quoted often but only partially. The rest of the line says the movement needs black ministers "who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs." I was at fault for not providing fuller context on the issue.
In a fall column about a GOP effort to change the way Pennsylvania allocates its Electoral College votes by awarding them by congressional district, I wrote that our state "like 48 others" has a winner-take-all system.
Bad math; only Nebraska and Maine award by district, so our system is like 47 others. No excuse, just sloppy journalism.
In a November column related to grand-jury charges against Jerry Sandusky, I misspelled the last name of Nils Frederiksen, spokesman for the state attorney general. He (rightly) took offense. I (wrongly) made him appear to be of Norwegian descent whereas he's proudly Danish.
My apologies to descendants of both homelands.
And, for all of the above, to readers who deserve better.