tedster - 4:36 am on Feb 2, 2012 (gmt 0)
Here's a very helpful video from Google with tips on requesting reconsideration [googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com]. The key is owning up to whatever you've done and letting them know that such actions have anded and will stay ended.
If you do request reconsideration, know that your entire online presence may get a human inspection - so you don't really want to try to sneak anything past. The inspection will come from people and not an algorithm.