I'm really happy for Brad and Dina, I hope they are really enjoying their honeymoon.
The new account names are not a big deal, despite allegations of trickery on our part. It's pretty obvious that most people will choose "Free" without even looking at the other options, so changing it to "Basic" just makes sense.
Yes, we're trying to make the Plus level and the Ad experience better. It doesn't mean we've forgotten about everyone else.
lj_releases was created because people asked for it, but some other people didn't, so naturally we're completely ignoring them and are evil.
Video embedding is cool, and if I can watch them on my friends page or friend's journal without having to go to another site, how does that suck? That said, people using image placeholders should see image placeholders in place of the video placeholder.
LJ is still Open Source, and a bunch of SixApart people are attending OSCON to share their knowledge with the world. Either that or they're hatching an evil plot to make the web suck more, spin your mood wheel and let it decide.
LJtalk is cool. Don't think of it as another IM client you need to install, if you're smart you should already be using a client that supports all the major IM protocols(I like Gaim). It will allow easier/faster posting via instant-messaging. Can be used to receive notifications about things going on with LJ(once ESN is live). And will also allow more direct interaction with people on your friends list, and avoid using posts/comments as a means to talk to one another.