Remember when, just a week after the demoralizing November 2 election, you read that thrilling 6,000-word Stranger manifesto "The Urban Archipelago"? Remember what comfort you took from those impassioned lines--their candor, their vehemence, their sheer, suffocating quantity? Well, some of those lines were misleading, ungrammatical, and/or factually incorrect. Most of the mistakes were made because we were operating under extreme deadline pressure. We were revising that sucker until the moment before it went to print--which doesn't excuse our errors, of course, but it does explain 'em.

For example, we wrote in that article that "if a Republican presidential candidate takes 50 percent of the vote plus 1 vote in any given state, the whole state is colored red" and that "if the Democrats take 50 percent of the vote plus 1, the whole state is colored blue." Obviously, that was wrong--we were providing you with the definition of a majority, whereas a state's electoral votes are captured by a mere plurality of voters. (A "plurality of voters" is a fancy way of saying that whoever gets the most votes wins, even when third parties are involved.) We regret adding so much extra stuff after our fact checkers had gone home to bed.

We also said that Texas "allows" the execution of the mentally retarded. In fact, the Supreme Court of our land has ruled such executions unconstitutional. But Texans are wily, and in 2002 Governor Rick Perry argued that Texas had no mentally retarded criminals on death row--a claim he was able to make because the state doesn't test inmates' IQs.

Then we proclaimed: "For Democrats, it's the cities, stupid--not the rural areas, not the prickly, hateful 'heartland,' but the sane, sensible cities--including the cities trapped in the heartland. That's a waste of time." What? Huh? Obviously we meant to say, "Pandering to rural voters is a waste of time."

We also attributed the quotation "a city on a hill" to Ronald Reagan. The editor who made that error maintains he was subtly "mocking" all those who wouldn't recognize that Reagan was parroting the 17th-century Puritan John Winthrop. (Yeah, right.) Not so subtle were several glaring orthographical and typographical errors: "Arkansas" spelled without the final 's' (was that supposed to be phonetic?); a missing definite article; a second-person pronoun gone AWOL; etc.

We apologize for letting the citizens of the Urban Archipelago down in our time of greatest need.