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Introduction

On Saturday, August 25, 2001, yours truly was interviewed by C-SPAN during a 5-minute call-in telephone interview. This interview was part of that network's Washington Journal continuing series on web sites related to government.

Note: For a two-month period, C-SPAN, as is its practice, kept a live audio/video streaming multimedia presentation on its servers. But that two-month period has lapsed, and the multimedia presentation is no longer available.

Also, in that same program segment, the webmaster of USConstitution.net was interviewed. That site was already on the net when I first created my site, and I was glad to see recognition extended to it. The related hyperlink in this paragraph is my salute to that site's webmaster, in acknowledgement of the service he provides.

The following hyper-text is a (nearly) verbatim transcript of that call-in telephone interview of which The US Constitution Resource Center (this web site) was the focus.

Those statements and questions posed by the host are preceded by C-SPAN in bold.

Statements not preceded by that caption are those made by me.


C-SPAN And, as regular viewers know, we spend a little bit of time every Saturday morning checking on websites. And this morning we are joined by Dennis Crick. He is the publisher of The US Constitution Resource Center

C-SPAN Dennis Crick, Good Morning!

Ah! Good Morning.

C-SPAN Thanks very much for being with us early on a Saturday morning.

It's good to be here.

C-SPAN Tell us, when people go to your website, and I think we've got the (uh) - I hope we have the url up on the screen or we're going to very shortly, what will they see at The US Constitution Resource Center?

Well, what you find, is websites uh put up mostly by individuals. And they broach relevant issues about the Constitution and government and life in general you know some something that's uh near and dear to their hearts - they broach the issues and they make cogent arg arguments about it And I think the uh main thing you find is just people - you know - what individuals think.

C-SPAN So, can you post messages there and have a dialogue with other people who are interested in the Constitution?

Yes, we do have a message board, and we get a message or two a week so far we get about hundred people a day on average here and uh you know every 3 or 4 days, somebody will post a question or comment and So uh I always respond to those.

C-SPAN Ok, and are you the founder, and if so when did you start this and why?

Well, I started this - actually C-SPAN is involved - uh I was watching July 3rd, 1989 when the supreme Court rulings came down that year and they were being published. I watched the live C-SPAN coverage - which, I became ag . . . - I don't know - agitated - watching the people. The issues that year were flag burning, Christmas tree decorations in school, and uh abortion.

And these were very emotional issues. uh I watched the journalists getting the published copies of the rulings - that wasn't pretty. And then the C-SPAN cameras went out on the front of the supreme Court buildin' and - the steps - there were people on the steps speaking into microphones - they were being very rude to each other and uh you know shouting each other down about you know if they disagreed.

And they were talking about rights, and the Constitution and so I began to wonder what does the Constitution say about rights? Why are these people confused? So I wound up writing a computer program. And then - that was in 1989 - and I kept working on that computer program and in 1996 I got on the web with it, which was the way - you know - software was goin'. So that's how all this started, actually was with C-SPAN.

C-SPAN And what does this computer program do? Is this The CONSTITUTION Notebook? Is that what you're referring to?

Yes, it is.

C-SPAN What does that do?

ok You get a hundred pages of comments that I've written about the Constitution and five other historical rights documents. And the program has the tools that I used to to write that. So uh you know you can uh The handiest thing it does is, if there's a phrase that's related to a topic, you can index it just by clicking on it with your mouse. And the program will save it under a topic heading for you.

C-SPAN Ok, and and the sort of people who come to your website Can you give us a sense of what kind of people you get in your community?

Ah - on the message board - that's where I get the best uh indication. A lot of people are in trouble you know with the legal system. and they have questions and concerns uh Some people are curious - I do get you know . . . I've never been flamed. I've never gotten an ugly email in in five years of being on the web yet. and uh Every now and then, I get a nice letter.

So, I guess - and - well Right after the great - during the post-election debacle of 2000, we had up to 700 people a day then. And I'm sure those people were wantin' to know about the electoral college. So there is some uh you know it's somewhat - Traffic is somewhat driven by you know current events, too.

C-SPAN We have a radio audience too. And for anybody who may have missed your web address . . . can you give us your web address if somebody wants to go there?

Ok - that is t - c - n - b - p dot tripod dot com And that's Ted Charlie Nancy Bob Paul that tcnbp dot tripod dot com And those letters stand for The CONSTITUTION Notebook Program.

C-SPAN And what's the most intersting thing you've learned in the course of doing all this for all these years - running the website and creating this program?

Oh, MY! (laugh) Oh, my! I guess it still goes back to the very first thing I did and that was to compile synonyms for the word "rights".

And I guess that what I've learned is uh you know you can't you can't put it in words. You know - what those people were arguing about that first day that got me started on this little quest you can't put it on words You know the founders - the framers of the Constitution tried they did as good as anybody's ever done. But the reason those people were arguin' - nobody knows the answers to the questions they were arguing about. And that's what I've learned.

C-SPAN Ok. Thank you very much! Dennis Crick is the publisher of The US Constitution Resource Center. You can find his website. Thank you very much for being with us this morning. We appreciate it.

Thank you! Bye bye.


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