HAH! Progress of sorts.
So now i can turn on and off the links.
ethtool -s eth1 autoneg off speed 10 duplex full
turns on the link, and gets me half-duplex, 10mb/sec. Not much, granted.
ethtool -s eth0 autoneg off speed 100 duplex full
causes the link to go up and down on about a 2 second cycle.
ethtool -s eth1 autoneg on
causes the link to drop.
So the problem is in the autoneg code. It's a driver issue. I've tried the patch; no joy but I have yet to reboot the system.