I was out of commission for a while, but damn it all to Cthulhu, people, none of us can sit back and swath ourselves in our privilege and wait it out. And by “it” I mean the apocalyptic reversal of every liberal gain of the last 80 years.
No, I’m not really a prepper in this regard (nor in any regard). The apocalypse is not upon us. But we are facing some serious challenges in many areas.
To that end—and I know I’ve made this vow before—I’m going to pester the hell out of my elected representatives. Yesterday I made it a whole lot easier to do that on impulse.
You know how it is: you’re just reading along and suddenly there’s an article about the neo-Nazis supporting the president-elect; or Ken Blackwell being in charge of “mental health issues” for the transition team; etc. There’s not a damned thing you can do about it, of course, and it’s not as if your elected representatives are going to do anything about it, but BY CTHULHU THEY’RE GOING TO KNOW THEY’RE PISSING ME OFF, KENNETH.
But first you have to go to their congressional website, click through to the “Email Me” page, and then input all your information in the online form. (Congresscritters don’t have published email addresses that you can just yell at directly.) It’s tedious and would certainly deter you from responding when the mood strikes you. I’m not so conspiracy minded that I would suggest that this is deliberate. But it’s deliberate.
So here’s how you regain the upper edge.
Step 1: Open your macro program
I use a program called Keyboard Maestro, and it’s magnificent. I can automate almost anything I do on my MacBook Pro. It’s magic. Macs also have a built-in macro program called Automator, but I’ve never used it, and it appears to be not as flexible or powerful as Keyboard Maestro. There are other macro programs, like QuicKeys (which I used to use). Find one you like. Trust me, if you do a lot of work on your computer, especially work that you have to repeat on a regular basis, you’ll be glad you learned to use it.1
Step 2: Open the congresscritter’s email page
Every one is different,2 so you will have to construct your two macros for each critter separately.
Step 2A: Create a macro to open this page.
This is an easy one. You just have to create a macro that opens the page. In Keyboard Maestro, it looks like this:
- Create a new macro. (In KM, you can create groups of macros that are available only in specific programs, in this case my browser. This will keep it from triggering if you accidentally pull the trigger in your word processor, for example.)
- Name it: goIsakson, for example.
- Add an “action”: Open URL, in this case. Copy and paste the congresscritter’s page URL in there.
You can, in KM, add a trigger of your choice. My Lichtenbergian trigger is simply typing four L’s in a row; KM then backspaces over those four L’s and types Lichtenbergian for me. I have other macros that are triggered when I type a key combination, like my macro (ctrl-opt-cmd-R) to resize and save an image in Pixelmator to my website. In this case, I’m going to trigger goIsakson by first triggering KM’s “Trigger Macro By Name” option (ctrl-opt-cmd-T) and typing in g-o-i, which is enough to bring up goIsakson. Hit return, and presto! the webpage opens.
Step 2B: Create a macro to fill in all those fields
This one isn’t hard, but you have to pay attention.
I recommend starting with your cursor in the first field. Because reasons.
Then it’s a simple matter—no, really—to add actions that a) type in the requested info; and then b) tab to the next field.
So on Isakson’s page (http://www.isakson.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/email-me), I would build this:
- Create a new macro. Name it Isakson.
- Insert text by typing: Mr.
- Type a keystroke: TAB
- Insert text by typing: Dale
- Type a keystroke: TAB
- repeat till done
You may find that you have to insert a Pause for x seconds after the Insert text action. Otherwise, your macro may trip over itself because the website is slow to respond. Better to wait those few extra seconds than have it get all tangled up.
Step 3: Get to work
Now, when some news item makes you want to hurl Molotov cocktails, you can pull up the congresscritter’s page and zap its form with your person info in no time at all. Then you can select a topic (there doesn’t seem to be one for fuppery) and type in your
So far my emails to my two senators3 have been to demand they repudiate the crap that’s surged up from the sewers since the election. I end each brief message with a direct question: “Will you repudiate this?” or “Do you agree with this mindset?” My sign-off is my new mantra: Not in my name. Not in my country. SPEAK UP. Last night in discussing my project with my Lovely First Wife, I decided I would add to every email the cheery message that I would be publishing my question and the critter’s response on my blog and on social media.
Which means I’m off to create a macro to type all that for me.
1 For example, I never type Lichtenbergian or Lichtenbergianism or Lichtenbergianism: procrastination as a creative strategy any more. I just type l-l-l-l or l-l-l-m or l-l-l-t and Keyboard Maestro does it for me. Or more extremely, I can create an Alchemy art fundraiser project page in seconds just by triggering a macro that fills in all sections of the backend page, including all the HTML, pasting all the individual artist info which another macro has copied from the spreadsheet into named clipboards, Kenneth. NAMED CLIPBOARDS!
2 Which means that every congresscritter hires its own IT staff, surely a reduplicative effort if ever there was one. And how many security clearance nodes does that create, eh? Party of small government, my ass.
3 At the moment I don’t have a representative. The old one has quit, and the new one hasn’t emerged from his pod yet.