THE DEN MOTHER

Mrs. V was our Cub Scout den mother during my early years of grade school. We’d go to her house on Monday nights and make birdhouses or tie-dye T-shirts, everything we needed to do to earn our badges.  

She said the pledge with us before every meeting. We promised to to do our duty to God and country, to help other people, to obey the law of the pack. Then we said the Cub Scout motto together. Do your best.

Once, before Halloween, she had a party and we all dressed up in costumes and bobbed for apples. When each of us came up with an apple in our mouth, she was there with a towel to dry our hair. Nice job, she said. You got one. She dried the water of our foreheads.

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A CONVERSATION WITH THE BASQUE PRESIDENT

In last October’s Basque elections, almost two-thirds of voters favored parties that, to varying degrees, could be described as Basque nationalists. Those parties took 48 of the 75 seats in the Basque parliament, the body that has governed the Basque Autonomous Community since 1980, when Basques held their first elections and formed their first government after four decades of rule under the dictatorship of Francisco Franco. 

A CONVERSATION WITH THE BASQUE PRESIDENTThe party that received the most votes was the Basque National Party (EAJ-PNV), allowing EAJ-PNV members of parliament to elect Iñigo Urkullu as Lehendakari, or president of the Basque Government. Urkullu is now leader of the approximately 2.2 million people that live in the Basque Autonomous Community, or Euskadi in the Basque language. The position carries with it a significant amount of influence because, among other reasons, Basques control more than 90 percent of their own tax revenue under a unique economic arrangement with Spain.  

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