Ok, this was a puzzler. The latest update rendered all my little usb thingies useless. They were all read-only and nothing I could do would change it. After many, many searches, I finally found that you have to edit your fstab file and remove all the lines for usb storage mounts. I had about 5. They are no longer needed.
I'm on testing, which is moderately unstable. My machine on stable was still good,