Thought: Titles in the US Federal Government

I was listening to a news report today and one US congressman made the statement that he'd like to see a "czar" appointed to lead the investigation into the problems surrounding government response to hurricane Katrina. That got me thinking- where did this use of the word "czar" come from? I know we've had it for some time. We call the head of anti-drug enforcement the "drug czar". But why? We are a democratic federal republic, not a czarist monoarchy.

And what about the heads of federal programs who don't get to be czars? I would think they'd feel left out. Are we going to see a press release by the head of the FDA informing us that he is now the "Emperor of Food"? Ponderous.