So now they're ending mask mandates on public transportation, just when I was barely beginning to think it was safe to use it again, at least until the next omicron spike rises. Fortunately I have a choice; many people don't. I just have to hope we're still in a lax trend when I next get on a plane in three months.
Biden was asked, “Should people continue to wear masks on planes?” and gave the supremely unhelpful reply “That’s up to them.” No! If it's up to anyone there, it's all the people around you! This is public health: what you do affects those around you as well as yourself. Freedom does not include the right to breathe deadly virus on those around you. You don't get to decide for yourself whether to take protective measures during a pandemic any more than you get to decide for yourself whether to drive on the right or the left, or whether to stop at red lights. The virus is not done with us yet, and there have to be enforced rules.
In other end-of-civilization news, I read that the AAA is discontinuing paper maps. That's a grave shame, as electronic maps, while very useful, are no substitute for big unfolding paper maps, the only kind where you can see detail and the big picture at the same time, and thus adequately understand where you're going. Online directions can be followed, but don't give a sense of why you're turning here or there, and even with today's advanced algorithms, it's still my hard-learned navigational smarts and knowledge of the area that has saved me from some absurd electronic directions; see my trip to LA last summer, when the directions took me miles out of the way to avoid one closed freeway exit, when taking the regular route and just getting off at the next exit was a satisfactory option.
It's also frustrating because, apart from the very occasional use of emergency road service, which I guess is worth the trouble to pay for it, maps are the only thing I belong to the AAA for.