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Believe it or not, I'm not always right

It's columnist John Baer's annual confession, including details of missed details and samples of just plain dumb.

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AND NOW . . . (I know you've been waiting for it) . . . my annual confession.

Bless me, readers, for I have sinned.

I have not on every occasion offered flawless analysis.

I have on some occasions gotten facts wrong.

So here's a list of lapses from my columns and from my Baer Growls blog during 2013.

For penance, I openly share such transgressions and pledge to reduce their number in the coming year.

Here we go.

Due to my lower-than-low confidence in the Pennsylvania Legislature's ability to do anything and my slightly lower confidence in the political acumen of the incumbent governor, I strongly suggested on multiple occasions that the ham-handed hacks of Harrisburg are incapable of addressing significant issues.

My bad.

In November, the Legislature and Gov. Corbett did a $2 billion-plus package for roads, bridges and SEPTA that forced me to write that "the new law demonstrates leadership in an area of actual need."

Henceforth I'll strive to see the (cough) good in our state leaders.


Earlier this month, in a column noting IBEW Local 98's endorsement of Allyson Schwartz for governor (talk about odd bedfellows!), I wrongly reported the number of local IBEW members.

I couldn't find a number on the local's website, but while talking with union boss John "Johnny Doc" Dougherty I thought I heard him say "about a thousand."

That's what I wrote. First thing next morning, he called: "I said 5,000."

Fixed it online, wrote a correction, scheduled an appointment with an audiologist.

Moving on.

Proving that no good deed goes unpunished, when I sought to write something nice about somebody, I goofed.

Last month, I blogged about Upper Dublin High School student Lauren Pyfer winning a statewide speechwriting contest and getting to deliver her speech at the 150th commemoration of President Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.

But I wrote that she was a student at Upper Darby High School.

Felt awful, fixed it, took it as a sign that I should never write anything nice about anybody.

More blog blunders:

In an October blog about a Washington Post essay on how well Republican governors (in other states) are doing, I misquoted the piece.

It noted a Forbes list of the 10 best states for future job growth, which said that eight of the 10 are run by GOP guvs.

I wrote that all 10 - Texas, Colorado, North Dakota, Nevada, Florida, Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Georgia and Oregon - have Republican governors.

In fact, Oregon and Colorado are governed by Democrats: John Kitzhaber and John Hickenlooper, respectively.

I blog in the early morning, proving that stupid knows no special hour.

Back in May, blogging early morning, I suggested that first lady Susan Corbett has better political instincts than her hubby (not that that bar is high).

I wrote about their answers to a Q&A in which he seemed politically tone deaf and she politically adroit.

Asked for his favorite movie, he named three: "The Godfather," "Animal House" and "Caddyshack," the last two, I assume, to bond with fans of sophomoric humor.

She named "Shakespeare in Love," a film that won seven Oscars ("The Godfather" won three) and appeals to fans of history's most gifted author.

Asked about favorite TV shows, he said "Vikings" on the History Channel, a clear swing and miss. She said "Downton Abbey," a clear pitch to suburban women.

Where I goofed was in writing "Downtown Abbey," thus showing ignorance of the critically acclaimed Emmy and Golden Globe Award winner aired on PBS.

No excuses. Just got it wrong.

But a new year means another shot at error-free offerings.

Readers deserve accuracy. If any in this business expect to survive we'd better provide it, fess up when we don't, and crusade for credibility.