Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is one of my living heroes. She has a tremendous independence of mind and spirit, with the confidence to issue orders and the humility to carry out orders. It would take a long essay to explain why she is the foremost Total Bad-Ass in the Bush Administration. Here is but one example: she is an accomplished amateur pianist:
After the Shostakovich, they turned to Brahms's Piano Quintet in F minor: "Condi's piece," as Mr. Battey called it. This intense, intricate and extremely difficult work is one of Ms. Rice's favorites. She reveres Brahms, she said, because the music is "passionate but not sentimental." In the scherzo, the players set a breakneck pace. Sometimes notes splattered and coordination teetered on the brink. It hardly mattered. The music-making was risky and vital.
The New York Times, taking a break from viciously attacking associated with the Bush Administration, published this warm appreciation of Dr. Rice, and for that they should have one-half percent of their credibility restored.