Craig, emotional bug reporting inevitably does a disservice to bug reporters and the people working to fix bugs alike. Reporters tend to omit necessary information; triagers and developers tend to ignore vitriolic (and often misled and/or uninformed) rants. Neither helps advance the state of FOSS. While I empathize with your (and nearly everyone else's) frustration with audio in Jaunty, there's no easy solution to the mess [PDF]. Many people blame Hardy's poor PulseAudio integration, and they are well placed to decry the missing changes to /etc/pulse/default.pa to allow most non-Free applications to play nicely. You specifically call out "functional" testing in the QA process, but are you actively involved in said QA process?
There are a shedload of shortcomings in Ubuntu related to audio. E.g., ubuntu-bug/apport could be taught to use alsa-info.sh (which isn't in Ubuntu Jaunty's alsa-driver source for various reasons but will be in Karmic's) behind the scenes; a standing FeatureFreeze exception similar to the GNOME desktop's could be requested and granted for ALSA-Lib and PulseAudio; linux's generic configuration could be "better" tweaked for desktop interactivity - and those are by no means comprehensive. However, each comes with an opportunity cost. Every single one of us needs to do a better job of working upstream, because throwing a tantrum in front of volunteers accomplishes little.