Jason C. McLean and Dawn McSweeney discuss bizarre comments from FIFA president Gianni Infantino defending holding the World Cup in Qatar, the politics of letting oppressive regimes host huge global events, Twitter falling apart, Trump running for President and other reasons the world is on fire.

Follow Dawn McSweeney @mcmoxy on Twitter and Instagram

Follow Jason C. McLean @jasoncmclean on Twitter and Instagram

Jason C. McLean and Dawn McSweeney discuss the near-routing of Trump-backed candidates in the US Midterm Elections, Elon Musk’s week of struggling to run Twitter, police in Mascouche, Quebec tazing an 18-year-old non-verbal autistic man and Daylight Savings versus Standard Time.

Follow Dawn McSweeney @mcmoxy on Twitter and Instagram

Follow Jason C. McLean @jasoncmclean on Twitter and Instagram

Jason C. McLean and Dawn McSweeney discuss Doug Ford’s use of the Notwithstanding Clause against striking teachers and Justin Trudeau’s plan to fight it, Elon Musk firing half of Twitter’s staff and potentially destroying the company and ongoing Iran protests juxtaposed with potential Powerball winnings.

Follow Dawn McSweeney @mcmoxy on Twitter and Instagram

Follow Jason C. McLean @jasoncmclean on Twitter and Instagram

Jason’s Op-Ed on Musk’s Blue Checkmark Charge / The Outside World (the radio drama mentioned)

When I heard that Elon Musk, the new gatekeeper of the town square that is Twitter, was floating the idea of charging users a monthly fee to have their profile verified with a blue checkmark, I decided it was the perfect time to get a checkmark on my own account. Then I could properly get all indignant when Elon tried to charge me for it.

The thing is, I wasn’t able to. It’s not just about proving you are who you say you are, but that who you say you are meets their notability and/or following on the platform requirements. I also tried to get this site’s account verified, and while we do have the following and the legitimacy, no one’s created a Wikipedia article on us (hint, hint…I can’t do it myself), so it’s presently a no-go.

Oh well…back to Musk’s exchange with Stephen King, the one where the author said he wouldn’t pay $20 a month for a blue checkmark on principle and the new Twitter owner tried to talk him down to $8. I found something in his second reply quite interesting:

“It is the only way to eliminate the bots & trolls.”

Wait! What? How many bots and trolls does he think have blue checkmarks currently? Seeing as I couldn’t get one, I doubt very much that a bot could.

Then I read that Musk claims that he wants to get rid of the “lords and peasants” system that he thinks Twitter currently has and plans to offer “half as many ads” and “priority in replies, mentions & search” to verified users, which will probably be better referred to as subscribers going forward. Now the plan is becoming clear.

It’s not about shaking down Stephen King, William Shatner and other celebrities for $8 a month (though it would be hilarious if that was the case). It’s also not about leveling the playing field as Musk’s lords and peasants comment would suggest.

While I’m sure that the current eligibility requirements for Twitter verification will be replaced with something more simple like proving your identity and providing a payment method, allowing pretty much anyone who can afford it to get a blue checkmark, this isn’t opening any doors or leveling the playing field one bit. Instead, it’s using the cloak of a symbol of importance to mask the transition of Twitter into a paid subscription service.

If this is the “only way to eliminate the bots” then it stands to reason that any account that doesn’t opt to pay for the “verification” will be treated like a bot. The focus on celebrity reaction has masked what’s really happening.

If Twitter is the town square, then Elon Musk is charging cover to the town square. Though it may not be the town square for much longer.

Some will leave. Others will wait and see. And some will get the blue checkmark subscription because they feel they have to. Musk has essentially devalued a feature and put a price tag on it at the same time.

Maybe he hopes Twitter will turn into some sort of niche subscription service with significantly fewer users than before but who now pay. That could explain his reported plan to lay off half the company’s workforce tomorrow.

Or maybe he doesn’t know what he’s doing. Which could explain why he’s reportedly ending the company’s work from anywhere policy. Forcing employees of a company with no physical products to work from the office.

Either way, maybe we should treat our digital town square as a public service rather than a for-profit business subject to the whims of a billionaire like Musk who gets duped into buying it.

Jason C. McLean and Dawn McSweeney discuss the UN Security Council’s rare universal condemnation of and call for an investigation into Israel killing Palestinain-American Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh harassed in Peterborough, Francois Legault refusing to participate in an English Leaders’ Debate and Elon Musk pausing his purchase of Twitter.

Follow Dawn McSweeney @mcmoxy on Twitter and Instagram

Follow Jason C. McLean @jasoncmclean on Twitter and Instagram

Jason C. McLean and Dawn McSweeney discuss the giant and expensive ring coming to Downtown Montreal and the reaction to it, Canada lifting the ban on men who have sex with men from donating blood (and Hema-Quebec doing something “distinct”) and Elon Musk’s plans for Twitter.

Follow Dawn McSweeney @mcmoxy on Twitter and Instagram

Follow Jason C. McLean @jasoncmclean on Twitter and Instagram

Jason C. McLean and Dawn McSweeney discuss Pope Francis’ planned visit to Canada to meet with Residential School survivors, Elon Musk’s attempt to buy Twitter (and Twitter’s attempts to block him), the City of Montreal moving forward on Falaise St-Jacques Park and more.

Follow Dawn McSweeney @mcmoxy on Twitter and Instagram

Follow Jason C. McLean @jasoncmclean on Twitter and Instagram

Dawn McSweeney and Jason C. McLean discuss Elon Musk purchasing 9% of Twitter and not declaring it right away to make some cash, 10 Montreal streets going pedestrian-only for the next three summers and Will Smith being barred from the Oscars for 10 years.

Follow Dawn McSweeney @mcmoxy on Twitter and Instagram

Follow Jason C. McLean @jasoncmclean on Twitter and Instagram

I had wondered just what Stephen Colbert would be able to do when he took over hosting The Late Show on CBS from David Letterman. His character, the narcissistic right-wing pundit, supposedly, was gone. His guestlist would become decidedly more A-List Hollywood and less quirky authors and really interesting, though not known, people.

He would become the classic network late-night host and do all the classic network late-night host stuff: monologues, celebrity interviews, funny (though kinda mainstream) bits, house band, musical guests. Well, that is exactly what he has done. Thing is, he is still Stephen Colbert, and the character isn’t entirely gone, just the faux right-wing parts.

That means CBS has given a man known for getting people to say things they wouldn’t say to anyone else access to the A-List. So far it has paid off, last night in a big way. Colbert was interviewing Elon Musk, CEO and Product Architect of Tesla Motors as well as CEO and CTO of SpaceX. It’s the latter role mentioned that the two were talking about when Musk dropped the bomb, or rather, talked about dropping a few nuclear bombs…on Mars.

When Colbert asked him about ways to make Mars hospitable for colonization, Musk told him that there was a quick way and a slow way. Colbert pressed him for the quick way and got this response:

Of course, this clip is being shared. Colbert has found a way to adapt to the classic late night talk show format and still get the most interesting responses from at least some of his guests. Sure, you’ll have to deal with him being cheesy with the likes of George Clooney and Scarlett Johansson, but the payoff is clips like this one with Musk and some damn fine musical performances like this one by Kendrick Lamar.

(Also, kudos to CBS and Global here in Canada for not pulling national copyright on video clips that are meant to be shared wherever you happen to be watching them from.)

So, is The Late Show with Stephen Colbert the same as The Colbert Report? No. Not at all. It’s a mainstream talk show.

Does it have the same vibe and originality? So far, yes. And that has surprised me. Maybe letting Stephen Colbert take over network Late Night could be a good thing, a very good thing.