NPR = National PROGRESSIVE Radio

Imagine you're a typical NPR listener, tuning in as you sip your Starbucks Café Latte -- made with skim milk and a shot of cinnamon -- work the New York Times crossword puzzle, and think about how great it is that you don't have to stop for gas on your way to work this morning because you drive a Prius. Suddenly, you're jolted out of your comfortable morning routine by the unimaginable: a segment entitled "Conversations with Conservatives."

Choking on your latte and misspelling "pestiferous" on your crossword, your head begins to spin as Rev. Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, discusses the status of evangelical voters. But surely it's just an anomaly. An early April Fool's Day joke. Yeah, that must be it! And fortunately, it was only seven minutes.

But the next day, you hear Grover Norquist, founder of Americans for Tax Reform, talking about which fiscal policies appeal to Republican voters. And the day after that, radio talk show host and CNN personality Glenn Beck discusses core conservative values. And on the last day of February, you are treated to David Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union, blathering on about the challenges that Sen. John McCain faces when it comes to proving himself to the conservative base.

If there's a reason to abolish Leap Year and February 29, then having David Keene spoil your Starbucks experience surely must be it. Who can you call? There has to be someone.

The Washington Times reports that for daring to air the views of conservatives on its morning drive show during the final four days of February, NPR fielded "more than 60 angry e-mails and phone calls ... calling the programming 'shameful' and a 'lovefest with radical, right-wing nuts.' There were only a few ... that praised the series as 'refreshing' and 'articulate,' among other things."

National Public Radio is funded in part by federal tax dollars. The last time I checked, both liberals AND conservatives are required to pay federal taxes. So what's wrong with having four seven-minute segments out of the year where conservative ideas are brought forth? You know, throw them a Milk Bone once in a while to pretend you care about them while you spend their money on things like Garrison Keillor's "Prairie Home Companion."

The problem with many liberals is that while they say they espouse tolerance, love for your fellow man, and discussing problems instead of resorting to fisticuffs, when they're actually expected to "walk the walk," things get ugly. To them, just listening to conservative ideas is akin to Dracula finding out about a nationwide tainted blood supply. It's painful when liberals realize that not everyone thinks the way that they do: that there are unenlightened souls out there who don't recycle, who go to church once in a while, who respect our military, and who don't think that the sun shines out of Barack Obama's nether regions. So, being the enlightened, progressive types that they are, instead of listening respectfully to what the other side has to say -- and possibly learning something new -- they stick their fingers in their ears, chant "I can't hear you," and complain to the person in charge about how awful the experience was.

It's sort of like the people who believe that vandalizing and bombing military recruiting stations is a great way to get their message of peace out to the masses.

They also institute "speech codes" at universities -- ostensibly so that no college student will get his widdle feewings hurt -- but in reality limiting students' First Amendment rights in the name of keeping certain "unwanted speech" off campus.

In an ironic twist, the same people want to see the Fairness Doctrine brought back. They think that it's a way to silence folks like Rush Limbaugh and Neil Boortz, whose very existence means that even driving that Prius isn't enough to erase the negative feelings that must result from knowing these individuals are adding to the amount of CO2 in our atmosphere simply by existing. Wait a minute, that's it: Rush Limbaugh causes global warming!

But the knife cuts both ways. Want the Fairness Doctrine? Fine, but be prepared to listen to more conservatives on NPR. In fact, NPR's ombudsman Alicia Shepard has a wish list that includes "Thomas Sowell, Janice Shaw-Crouse, Shelby Steele, and the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez Jr. as possible guests.

"'There are dozens of diverse conservative voices, but NPR and all news organizations need to work much harder to bring them into the conversation,' Ms. Shepard noted."

And if they don't want conservatives on NPR, that's fine too. Just send conservatives a refund for their portion of the taxes that support it.

Now that's progressive.

Pam Meister is the editor of FamilySecurityMatters.org (the opinions she expresses here are her own), and her work has also been featured on American Thinker.