- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 18, 2011

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley might be the state’s chief executive, head of the Democratic Governors Association and a potential 2016 presidential candidate, but his name doesn’t appear to carry as much weight in the music world.

As of Friday, the governor had yet to receive a response from singer Lady Gaga, whom he invited to dinner earlier in the week via Twitter as part of a campaign to discourage youth bullying in Maryland.
The pop superstar, real name Stefani Germanotta, is a vocal anti-bullying advocate who has even launched a foundation to fight the problem.

“@LadyGaga thanks for your advocacy against bullying,” Mr. O’Malley tweeted, on behalf of himself and wife Catherine “Katie” Curran O’Malley. “Katie & I would like to invite you to dinner to discuss eliminating bullying in MD.”

O’Malley spokeswoman Takirra Winfield said Mr. O’Malley admires the singer but isn’t expecting her in Annapolis anytime soon.

“Frankly, we don’t really expect” a response, Ms. Winfield said. “The governor just thought he’d leave her a note to thank her for her attention to the issue of bullying and see if there is any way we can work together to combat this.”

Rather than giving up, perhaps the governor should send Ms. Gaga another tweet, this time extolling his own musical talents? Mr. O’Malley, a part-time musician, sings lead vocals and plays guitar for Irish rock band O’Malley’s March.

That anti-bullying summit might go over better as a benefit concert.

In a rather quick turnabout, yes, Virginia, there will in fact be a Capitol Tree lighting this year.

Last month, it was announced that the annual ritual would be canceled due to the filming of Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln,” the acclaimed director’s biopic on the 16th president based on the novel “Team of Rivals” by Doris Kearns Goodwin.

But with filming on Capitol Square completed last week, it turns out that Mr. Spielberg will not ruin the lighting ceremony at Mr. Jefferson’s Capitol. Gov. Bob McDonnell’s office announced last week that the tree-lighting ceremony was on again.

The lighting, open to the public, will take place Tuesday at 5:15 p.m. on the South Portico of the Capitol, which had been transformed for the movie to depict the White House.
Mr. Spielberg’s march has taken the film to Petersburg — for now.

Residents of the nation’s capital could be excused for taking offense to the subject line of an email issued last week by the NJEA News Service that read: “New Jersey routs D.C. on test scores.”

The subhead mentions something about not taking advice from Michelle Rhee, the former D.C. Public Schools chancellor who parted ways with the District more than a year ago. But the first sentence of the story really packs a punch: “Test results from the 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress show that New Jersey’s black and poor students dramatically out-perform their counterparts in the District of Columbia and the vast majority of other states.”

Hey now, what’s your beef?!

Turns out they buried the lede a bit. The NJEA says the test scores show that Gov. Chris Christie’s education reform group, Better Education for Kids (B4K), should not join forces with Ms. Rhee’s nonprofit education reform group, StudentsFirst.

OK, fine. But next time, please say that up front.

Reporters David Hill, Tom Howell Jr. and David Sherfinski contributed to this report.



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