The United States attorney general, the sword of the Lord leading the charge against al-Qaida and our Bill of Rights, is a genuine Missouri product, through and through. He's as much a part of our indigenous culture as mule-ass stubbornness, corncob-pipe-makin' and roll-throwin'. He was our auditor. Our state attorney general. Our governor. Our U.S. senator. Even when we finally voted him out, he popped back, bigger than Christ of the Ozarks! He is our legacy. And gee, America, we're sorry. But we've had trouble figuring out an explanation. How'd he keep getting our votes all these years? Then it hit us -- like a hunk of lead concentrate flying off a tractor-trailer in Iron County. It's in our blood. Lead mining. Lead smelting. Lead polluting. Lead poisoning. For more than two centuries, Missouri's been the nation's primo spot for lead production -- and with all that heavy metal in the ground, in giant piles, on the streets, in the streams and rivers, on the walls and in the children, surely we Missourians have lost a brain cell or two. What better excuse can we offer up for John Ashcroft? We're as steady as rocks and twice as smart.