Im doing webdesign and internet for some time now. Did everything for www.wecantdance.nl
(which is my own project) and I work as an Interaction Designer/Usability Guru at a big agency in the Netherlands. We do a lot of Flash things there.
I agree that Flash might not be the tool for every website. In fact I don't encourage using Flash for everything on the web. I know that everything can be done but that doesn't mean everything SHOULD be done in Flash.
Im not sure how internet is priced in the USA and what typical connections are there but in the Netherlands, broadband is fast and very cheap. Flash websites with lots of interaction, flash video, animations etc. are normal here and usually load fast if optimized.
Google has the ability to index text in Flash movies, just like a human would read them. I don't see any issues with SEO nowadays. If you make up a good embedding page, a good no-flash page and give Google what it needs, then you will be found.
However, I agree that there are still issues which are usually caused by developers not using frameworks like GAIA that make flash behave like separate webpages with direct linking options.