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February 17, 2008


Bryan Maersch

"Yet as a coherent source of information - or even reasoned analysis - the blogs largely fail."

I do beg to differ. While the bickering does get distracting. It has been a much better source of local news than the staff writers of FranklinNOW have produced and much more timely.

John Michlig

If it's not RELIABLE and PROPERLY SOURCED, it's not news at all, I'm afraid.

FranklinNOW is an advertising circular, not a news source. Local newspapers are dead, and we are poorer because of it.

John Michlig

"I'm not crazy about it," Maley says. "But the FranklinNOW site has rapidly become our No. 2 Web site rather than 6 or 7."

Excellent. Perhaps Mark Maley can push the FranklinNOW site to No. 1 if he can get Fischer to actually fling feces.

Josh Strupp

I will say that the blogs have created some amount of transparency in local government that NOW journalists have not been able to do. However, I agree with Milwaukee Magazine that the commentary has pretty much lacked any sort of substance or debate since it's creation a few months ago and most commenters are more focused on flinging feces than actually providing some sort of content.

John Michlig

A great resource RUINED by the narcissism of one man.

Compounding the damage created by Kevin Fischer is the fact that he encouraged and cultivated a troupe of acolytes who, believing that Fischer still had "journalist" credentials (he's on TV!) and must therefor be worthy of emulation, adopted his forget-the-facts-and-just-attack-people-personally style. FranklinNOW is littered with the dried husks of at least three Friends-of-Fischer blogs that shuttered under calamitous circumstances; the latest is a blog called UNGLUED by Janet Evans, which disappeared over this weekend after a run that was all-too-often often true to its title. (Gone with UNGLUED, by no coincidence, are DOZENS of unsavory comments left there by Fischer.)

Rather than providing an example for the inexperienced bloggers of how a person with journalistic pretenses should address the issues and lift the debate, Fischer openly reveled in his role of FranklinNOW's Jerry Springer. He's an unapologetic advertisement for everything that is wrong with modern public discourse, and he infected everyone around him. The authors/moderators of the three blogs that closed down abruptly shared more than a devotion to Fischer's dogma; they also emulated his propensity towards name-calling, taunting, arbitrary "comment-banning," and gutter language. Before long, comments were limited to the "gang of four" right-wing bloggers giving each other thumbs-up ("You hit the nail right on the head, Kevin!" "You are so right, Kevin!" "When will the libs learn, Kevin?"). Everyone else had had enough and moved on.

Bryan Maersch

The interviews Janet Evans did with the four candidates for School Board are by far more comprehensive than any local journalist or blogger has written in the past 18 years.

The all contain critical information that Franklin Voters should be looking at rather than the "einie, meany, miney, moe" way they have voted for board members in the past.

If we had had writing like this in the past, maybe we would not have the group of clowns that fill those chairs currently that are trying to regain a shred of respect due to Janet's outing of them and their contemptuous attitude towards Franklin residents that disagree with their "
All Knowingness".

Josh Strupp

That maybe true, but I wouldn't put the lack of substantive commenting solely on the shoulders of Kevin Fischer. The commenting forum could very well be used to directly refute his agenda, which is something I have done on numerous occasions. However, most commenters have chosen not to use the commenting forum for providing substantive material and, instead, have used the commenting section as a means to personally attack, belittle and bicker other commenters (most under false names of course). It seems that most people commenting are more interested in entertaining themselves rather than informing themselves. Although Fischer has bred this sort of behavior, I wouldn't blame him completely for the culture over there.

Josh Strupp

My comment refers to Michlig. Brian has a comment in between my response.

Greg Kowalski

While I hate saying this, I think people sorely underestimate the power wield that Fischer had on that site, all the way up the NOW Online Editor's seat, who LIVES IN FRANKLIN and SUPPORTS Lazich.

He controlled it with no mercy to those that disagreed with him. He BANS people from commenting on his blog for Pete's sake! I already know that the bloggers communicated with each other gameplans via e-mail - I was mistakenly put on one (apparently Kowalski and Keller were next to each other in the Contacts list). It wasn't pretty to say the least.

Michlig hit it right on the head, and I say kudos to you for sticking your neck out and publicly saying it.

I've said it way too many times, but I'll say it again: If the Franklin public really knew these people behind the scenes, they'd be floored.

Josh Strupp

Greg, to be fair, you've sensored people on your blog too.

I don't think you should make unsubstantiated statements about people "behind the scenes" in a public forum. Greg, "these people" do have private lives and are not in the public sector (with the exception of Fischer) so I don't think going after their personal lives is necessary or proper in a public forum. Maybe you aren't intending to do that but it sounds to me like you are contemplating releasing information that will do you more harm than you know. Can we stick to issue of this blog?

Greg Kowalski

Difference being I don't proclaim I'm the man that doesn't believe in non-censorship.

When the people of Franklin are duped by these people, it's unacceptable. Fischer's included in that, as the past month-or-so has shown very well.

And no, I don't have plans to go after anyone's "personal life." I don't discuss what they eat, when they sleep, where they shop, what car they drive, what their pet nicknames are, etc, etc. I never would do that.

However, when something comes about that's extremely important and critical, that would actually change the whole thought-process of people reading and understanding these concepts, that deserves to have some notice.

Having a NOW blog, putting yourself in the public eye - that's not private stuff.

John Michlig

The UNGLUED blog was a truly schizophrenic case. On the one hand, Janet Evans took the time to do those informative interviews with school board candidates, but then she'd make you embarrassed to be there the very next day with some odd post that seemed designed for no more than to illicit an "atta boy" from Team Fischer.

There was a real sense of unpredictability in that UNGLUED blog. It always seemed ready to snap.

I wonder if she could have kept things going in a constructive manner were it not for the influence of Fischer?

Bryan, you in particular have always struck me as an otherwise perfectly reasonable person who plainly got caught up in all the "Hey Cheesecake breath" fun and games.

From a post called "FRED KELLER'S BACK," here's a Kevin Fischer comment that quotes YOU and feeds the frenzy:

Kevin Fischer -
"Cindy GO AWAY and stick your head up your ass where it belongs.
Wait, your buddy Greg is all ready there!"
--Bryan Maersch
It's only January, but so far, that's the COMMENT OF THE YEAR!
January 19, 2008 10:58 PM

Not much to be proud of there - - except you got a pat on the back and positive reinforcement from the lead dog. Kevin certainly played the part of Jerry Springer, goading you on.

Would you want your kids to know you wrote that, or are even CAPABLE of writing that?

Those comments culminated in THIS beauty from Fred Keller:

Fred Keller -
Hmmm… off your meds again, Cin? You really need to find a better system to keep yourself on schedule. I think Bryan has the solution. Why don’t you
keep your mind-benders where you keep your head (up your ass, that is), that way you can always be face-to-face with you pill bottles. There, problem
As for your new blog; now there’s a “gem.” The Franklin landfill has better content and a higher IQ than you and your readers; one in particular. And it
smells better, too!
I do find your blog’s subtitle odd and misleading, though. The only thing “evenhanded” about you, is the fact that you have two hands, or are those
And speaking of “slapping up;” someone really should. And we won’t need to turn to Tennessee because of a shortage of “volunteers.” Between
Franklin and Brookfield I’m sure we’ll find a few… hundred or so.
Now, why don’t you just run along and go play in your own neighborhood, or better yet, why don’t you give your “GREAT BIG CHUNKY-MAN” a
call. I wouldn’t want to speak out of turn, but I’m sure he’d love to share his big “mac n’ cheese balls” with you in a “field of clover.” That’s all he
talks about when you’re away.
January 20, 2008 9:21 AM

Who wants to be associated with that sort of material? Who among Team Fischer will step up and say, "Whoa, now - fun's fun, but that's just asinine."?

Answer: No one. Because Kevin Fischer sets the low-ball tone and rewards those who adhere to it.

Greg Kowalski

Hence why he has a big announcement yesterday - that he's taking on a "bigger role" at WISN. It's a nice way of saying, "I think I'm leaving Lazich's aide post soon..."

Controversy surrounds him just because of that one simple point - he works for us, the overburdened Wisconsin taxpayer. He receives $60,000/year from us, probably plus benefits, for what? "Assisting" Senator Lazich on her blog? Berating her constituents?

I mean c'mon.

With his WISN job, people will not only be fine with it, but instead will EXPECT it. That's why he's jumping with glee last night - he can come back on his blog in the future and do the same tactics he did in the past w/Team Fischer. Best part for him and the Team is: No controversy surrounding it.

John Michlig

"Big" announcement.

John Michlig

Bryan Maersch just this moment started a NOW blog called "Wag the Dog."

Let's wish him well and hope he remains on the high road.

Janet Evans

To John Michlig:

"The UNGLUED blog was a truly schizophrenic case."

You are a boring, small individual. This isn't the first time you have displayed your infatuation with my work. You did it with Patrick McIlheran also when he showed an interest in my blog. Perhaps it was just jealousy on your part since you can't seem to think outside your small box.

When not blogging about the school board I blogged about the military, politics, world news items, national news items, sports items, television, and yes shopping...all things of interest to varied groups of individuals. The very few times I went astray, it was because of the issues at hand where I could not stand by silently.

You are all critics...so be it. Kevin Fischer did not tell me what to do or how to run my blog. I left for my personal reasons on Friday morning. I do not subscribe to, nor do I read Milwaukee Magazine. And I don't care what it says.

I blogged for a hobby. I don't recall ever blogging about you. You didn't like my work. Obviously you read it. But other people did like my work.

So, as I tend to my personal, family issues, I'll miss blogging, but I'll still be around once in a while. Do yourself a favor and don't waste your time reading anything you might see with my name on it. I wouldn't want you to get all bent out of shape.

Sincere best of luck to all of you,


John Michlig

As Ms. Evans' UNGLUED blog has completely disappeared, I'm fortunate to have her comment above to reinforce my original analysis of her blog.

I stand by my fairly noncritical assessment of UNGLUED, and I anticipate Ms. Evans' eventual return to the blogosphere - perhaps less angry next time around.

Bryan Maersch


As for Greg's and sometimes your friend Cindy Kilkenney. She left this message for Greg, on his Milwaukee Magazine blog:


Dude! What's the deal? Can't Kevin Fischer manage life without a blogging buddy? I see Mr. Cut-and-Paste is back.

And this on mine:

Well, let the party begin.

While I am trying to mend something that has become broken. Cindy keeps picking the scab of FranklinNOW blogs. She has nothing better to do in her life than this.

Sad Sad woman! It is a pity that anyone would associate themselves with a mean spirited person such is Cindy.

Bryan Maersch

PS - I am not proud of that statement that you quote. Cindy Kilkenny had just left a nasty comment on Kevin's blog and it was one in a series of harassing comments she had left on all the FranklinNOW blogs.

John - Take a gander at all the taunting that "Cindy" has left on the FranklinNOW blogs, specifically on Greg's where he keeps them all. As Kevin has asked her not to comment as she has nothing constructive to say, he has deleted most of them.

John Michlig

I think you'll find that if you adopt a certain tone and refuse to respond in kind to out-of-line or personal-attack posts and comments, you'll see gradual improvement.

I want to point out this important difference between what I refer to as "Team Fischer" and myself as I relate to persons like Greg Kowalski, Cindy Kilkenny, etc.: I will tell people with whom I may have something in common ideologically when they are out of line or inappropriate. I don't see that at all among you, Fischer, Keller, Evans, etc. You all have an unquestioning "us against them" mentality that invariably creates situations like the one I describe above.

Kevin Fischer was way, way out of line and he got slapped on the hand for it. You still have not seemed to accept that, and you still seem to be working very, very hard for his approval.

Also, I'm a proponent for making sure Kevin Fischer's blog NEVER goes away, as I want his voice, evasions and explorations of ethical gray areas to be seen and heard loud and clear.

Bryan Maersch

In that same vein John, as you and I have discussed, Greg has to quit his "poor picked on me attitude", when someone has the opposite opinion.

He refuses to listen to anyone including you when he has made poor choices in his blogging. He now has his "Team Kowalski" groupies that attack Fischer, Evans and myself for him. I seriously do not believe they will ever go away until Greg is the only voice. They too have taken an "us against them" attitude.

To quote Cindy and friends after I left a month ago "Two down, two to go".

As for Team Fischer, yes Kevin will continue to be a friend, he and his wife are fun people and I have gotten to know them on a personal level. No, I do not look for his approval and their is no secret hand shake.

When it comes to Kevin, Janet's or Greg's political ideology, that is not a subject I intend on blogging on for or against their opinions.

When it comes to issues dealing with Franklin and the taxes flowing from my pocket book. That is a different story.

John Michlig

Bryan, you bring up a good point about meeting people on "a personal level." One of the dangers we face while communicating online is the tendency to get way, way more aggressive and negative than we ever would with someone we have an opportunity to meet personally. The lack of public spaces in a modern suburb like Franklin means that there's little opportunity for this melange of people with different viewpoints to see and experience one another as PEOPLE.

It would certainly flavor the tone of the debate and engender some respect.

I live three baseball throws away from Kevin Fischer, yet he and I have never met. Imagine if he and I could bat around the issues, disagree aggressively, then part with a smile?

That's the way it USED to be, before we retreated into our houses and backyards.

Bryan Maersch


That is why there is always an open invitation to give a yell as you are running past my house. You can take a rest as we are at the top of the hill and I will get you a bottle of water.

I hope you are not freezing a lung in this weather and watch out for that ice!

By the way, we are pretty friendly in our neighborhood and always say hi when passing neighbors on an evening walk though ours and the subdivision behind us during the summer.

Maybe you are just living in the wrong neighborhood!:)

John Michlig

You may, someday, have to use a spatula and scrape me off the street.

The flu has kept me off the road for a week - I hope to get a rehab run in this weekend.

Janet Evans


I'm not angry...I'm just opinionated and a conservative. Liberals always call people like me angry.

And I'm sorry you didn't like my blog; to each his own I guess.

You may be correct, I may be back. And then, perhaps next time we see each other at a City Hall meeting, we can introduce ourselves to each other. I would like that.

John Michlig


Let's be honest: Your BLOG - now utterly erased, so there's nothing to re-examine - was characterized by a noticeably ANGRY overall tone. (I have a pretty decent collection of your comments archived. They are PARTICULARLY angry.) Call it a personal style - you were the angry blogger (you called it "unglued" - a rose by any other name). Nothing wrong with that; doesn't mean you're an angry PERSON.

Also, you labor under some misconceptions.

First, I never said I didn't "like" your blog; you read too much into comments that you personally did not find flattering. I was certainly critical of aspects of your blog that deserved criticism, but certainly not critical to the point I could have been if I were truly unkind and cynical.

Second: Starting sentences with "Liberals always..." isn't a good start, persuasion-wise. It signals that lazy dogma is ahead. I expect better from people.

Third: Given the opportunity again and again, none of the members of Team Fischer have been able to muster a dispassionate argument when challenged. Again and again, Kevin Fischer and his acolytes flee the scene of civil discourse and retreat to name-calling and dogma-spouting ("Liberals always..."). This is why I ignore the Franklinnow blogs, and why MILWAUKEE MAGAZINE rightly called attention to the fairly reprehensible online behavior of Kevin Fischer.

I really hope we get to meet in person in the near future, Janet, because knowing each other as PERSONS would go a long way toward eliminating the strange enmity ("You are a boring, small individual") generated online. There's no reason people can't agree to disagree.


Wow! If I wanted to move to Wisconsin and I came across this blog, I would turn around and head the other way as fast as you could say WTF. What is wrong with you people!?

A southern belle surfing the 'Net in sunny Florida

John Michlig

If all you went on was these ramblings, I wouldn't blame you for turning around. Of course, one of the points being made here is that "online reality" bears little resemblance to the real world.

Plus all the snow might send you back south. :)

Janet Evans


My "blog" and my "comments" are two different things. Why in the world would you bother to archive my comments? What's the point? I have nothing to hide in any comments made on my blog.

You obviously don't ignore the FranklinNow blogs...

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