What the hell is a calvert? Glad you asked.
What the hell is a culvert? Glad you asked. MEL-NIK/GETTY

The most expensive problem you’ve never heard of: Culverts are those pipes that go beneath roadways to lets streams continue flowing without harming the integrity of the road, but Washington’s culverts are trash. They’re especially terrible for Chinook salmon, which have no way of getting past the structures to continue upstream to spawning grounds. The Washington State Legislature is on the hook to fix almost 1,000 culverts across the state, which is estimated to cost upwards of $3 billion. These renovations are meant to help tribal nations restore their fish stocks and increase food availability for orcas. The Department of Transportation has fixed only 66 of the 992 faulty culverts, nowhere close to the court-imposed deadline. But the question is how to pay for a problem most people don’t know exists?

Office of Public Defense wants to offer a clean slate: This new unit is focused on helping felons who are eligible to have their crimes removed from the record. Having a felony conviction on your record can exclude you from many jobs and certain housing, so this opportunity can give ex-felons convicted of nonviolent crimes a chance to build a new future. It’s not clear to me why this doesn’t just happen automatically, but I guess that would be too accommodating for our criminal justice system.

Democratic candidates are proposing some bold policies: These policies were once thought to be political poison ivy, but now they feel more like aloe vera to progressive voters and advocates. Candidates like Pete Buttigieg are publicly musing about adding four more members to the Supreme Court to rectify what many now see as a partisan judicial branch. Well it is a partisan branch, no matter what they may tell you. Candidates are also talking about reparations and, somewhere in hell, Roger Ailes just got a boner. Reparations is the controversial yet intuitive idea idea that the African American descendants of slaves deserve money to rectify the centuries of economic and social harm they were subjected to.

Britain grounds all suspect Boeing planes: The United Kingdom is now joining the long list of countries keeping their Boeing 737 MAX planes out of the air after two deadly plane crashes with the latest model, most recently this Sunday in Ethiopia. China, which has one of the largest Boeing fleets in the world, has also grounded its planes until investigators know what the problem is. The United States has yet to ground any of its 737s, which has got to make anyone flying today a little nervous, because we have a lot of these planes. They go straight from Renton to an airport near you.

A super-centurion!

Italy just banned all unvaccinated kids from attending school: Well, isn’t that just a crazy idea. It’s almost like all arguments against vaccinating children, other than they are medically exempt, are complete bullshit. Italy is not allowing children under 6 to come to school without their vaccines for chickenpox, polio, measles, mumps, and rubella. For 6 to 16 year olds, things are a little trickier. They can’t ban kids from school, because they value education and all, but they can fine parents more than $500 for not vaccinating their kids.

The United States is withdrawing all its diplomats from Venezuela: The stalemate in the South America country between its current authoritarian leader, President Nicolás Maduro, and the US-backed opposition leader, self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaidó, hasn’t budged. Now Maduro is increasing his aggressive rhetoric and tightening his grip on the country using the military. It’s not exactly surprising that diplomats who are openly supporting the opposition leader are being targeted in the country, but this removal doesn’t really change anything. It could clear the way for a more aggressive US approach to removing Maduro, which is dubious at best given our history of interventions in South America.

Oh boy, do I have some good news for you! Spring is here. But not actually spring, just that thing where it’s super nice for a week and then April comes and knocks us back into our collective seasonal depression.

Today’s foreign language music comes from our very own KEXP: I love them and everything they do. Bomba Estereo are an absolutely HUGE band, but they’re a little less well known in the United States. Let this song make your morning.

Tonight's best Seattle entertainment options include: A dizzying Southern soundscape with Adia Victoria; a chance to see ACT Theatre's production of Romeo + Juliet; and a Meaninful Movies screening of Human Flow, a documentary about the global refugee crisis.