RE: Civil War. I haven't done this yet, I'm currently deciding whether to pursue this or the Thieves' Guild next. It seems to me that the story team decided early on to make both sides despicable, but to "tweak" the players by starting it out with the traditional "rebellion good empire bad" schtick. This way they could pull the rug out, so to speak.
Frankly, Ulfric is acting like a spoiled brat. He couldn't be acting in the Thalmor's interest any more if he wanted to. On the other hand, I don't see how most people could listen to the General's conversation with his second-in-command in Solitude and not want to smack him - or kneecap him, for that matter.
Having said that, I think the Civil War in Skyrim might need to get 'self-moderated' some way here, as it clearly has a way of taking over the thread. Perhaps something as simple as, "If you're angry enough to start bullet-point responding, keep it in spoilers" or something like that.
RE: Raising Sneak. I'd like to confirm that the method of sneak-attacking an unkillable character works, within certain limits. I did it to the Silver Blood guy as part of the Forsworn Conspiracy chain in Markath. There can't be anyone else that sees you do it, however, and it isn't as fast as some people suggest it is because you have to wait for them to reset before you can sneak attack them again. It was good for over 30 skillups before I just couldn't grind it anymore without my eyes bleeding
In other news, dual-wielding two Daedric Daggers that are max-improved is just nothing short of crazy, even unenchanted and without all the perks. I played around with not surrendering during the Forsworn Conspiracy chain and just ran through town killing guards when they tried to kill me. It wasn't a fight, it felt like playing Pac-Man without the threat of the ghosts frankly.
Also, I have to say one of the Markarth quests triggered a squick ("Ewwwwww....") factor for me. I already knew from previous experience with this game series that most of the Daedric artifact quests wouldn't be for me but... I got into this one without realizing it was a Daedric quest. I figured it was just another kill-the-undead-in-the-tomb thing. Thankfully the NPC was killable when I went to the second stage, so I got that out of my system