Are you suggesting that there's no way for a site to recover?
No, just that we are not seeing any. Cutts did say that it would be possible to recover - if you believe him. It certainly does not seem that there is a way to "recover" but maybe the penalty gets lifted one day. I spent way too much time effort and money trying to pull my site out of this - I would have been better to ditch it and start again and that's pretty much what I am doing now. Except I don't really have the budget after spending it all on trying to bring my old one back from the dead.
I do think that recoveries will happen one day as there are too many false positives involved. Plus, it's not really clear what google likes or dislikes now so removing links is dangerous, as is keeping them as you will never know what google does or doesn't like. So I hope they take some pity on us.