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Center for Biological Diversity:
No Keystone XL 

The Boston Globe, August 12, 2013

President Obama hits the links, but not much else on rainy Vineyard vacation day

By Mark Shanahan

We’re not sure about snow or heat or gloom of night, but it’s clear that a little rain won’t stay President Obama from the swift completion of a round of golf.

Despite periodic showers Monday, the president was determined to hit the links again on the second day of his Martha’s Vineyard vacation, this time venturing at noon to Vineyard Golf Club to play with a group that included friend and longtime island summer residentVernon Jordan, US Trade Representative Ron Kirk, and Allison Davis, a Chicago developer and attorney.

After golfing, in the early evening, Obama and his wife, Michelle, went to a cocktail party at the West Tisbury home of Broderick Johnson, who was an adviser on the Obama 2012 campaign and whose wife, Michele Norris Johnson, is the former host of NPR’s “All Things Considered.”

Because of the soggy conditions, there was speculation that the president, as he has during three previous Vineyard vacations, might make a morning pilgrimage to one of the island’s bookstores to pick up a few tomes. “I wish he would,” said Susan Mercier, who managesEdgartown Books. “But we haven’t seen him.”

If the commander in chief does come in, Mercier’s ready with a few recommendations, especially for first daughters Sasha and Malia, who stopped in with their mother during the family’s last Vineyard vacation in 2011. For 12-year-old Sasha, Mercier would recommend “The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell” by “Glee” star Chris Colfer, and for Malia, who’s 15, she suggests “In the Shadow of Blackbirds” by Cat Winters.

Maybe when he’s not the president anymore, Obama will return to the island and realize there’s more to see here than sand traps and water hazards. (He sees plenty of both on the golf course.) One idea would be a visit to the Vineyard Playhouse’s exhibit of paintings by actress Brooke Adams , a longtime island resident who may be best known for her role inTerrence Malick’s terrific 1978 film, “Days of Heaven.”

The show’s opening drew a slew of Vineyard boldfacers, including Tony Award-winning librettist James Lapine, documentary filmmaker Sarah Kernochan, Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz, poet Rose StyronKurt Vonnegut’s daughter, painter Edie Vonnegut, activist Betty Taymor, “Raging Bull” cinematographer Michael Chapman, and, of course, Adams’s husband, “Monk” star Tony Shalhoub.

Even if he doesn’t want to see the paintings by Adams, the president could walk around the historic 100-seat theater, which is in the midst of a $2.2 million renovation. (Next up in the playhouse’s new downstairs gallery is a show of drawings by Kate Feiffer, daughter of celebrated cartoonist Jules Feiffer .)

“In the years Bill Clinton was on the island, I must have shaken his hand a dozen times,” said MJ Bruder Munafo, artistic director of the Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse. “I haven’t laid eyes on the Obamas ever.”

Some, like Jerry Karnas, aren’t waiting for Obama to come to them. Dressed in a polar bear costume, Karnas, the field director for the Center for Biological Diversity, has been all over the island trying to catch the president’s eye as his motorcade drives past. He’s been at Alley’s General Store in West Tisbury, Bunch of Grapes Bookstore in Vineyard Haven, Gay Head Light in Aquinnah, you name it.

“Polar bears, not pipelines,” said Karnas, removing his bear head to talk to us. (The pipeline would link Canada’s oil sands to refineries on the US Gulf Coast, which environmentalists say could contribute to greenhouse gas emissions.) “Wherever he goes here, we want him to see an anti-Keystone sign.”

Our advice: Try the golf course.

This article originally appeared here.

Photo © Paul S. Hamilton