If you wandered over from Pam's Nerds Eye View, Howdy! I've put together a quick links for some of the questions that were asked. Other questions I'll write up more detailed answers or find other folks that can answer the question better.
I have a number of posts about buying camcorders depending of use, need and budget. There are camcorders for Talking Head, Just In Case, Advocacy/Citizen Journalism, Event and Special Occasions and places to use for researching digital camcorder purchases.
Free Video Editing Software:
Yeah. I know. For folks new to video editing really Windows Movie Maker 2 or Windows Live Movie Maker on the PC and iMovie on the Mac are the most easiest to use. They are not perfect but can perform basic movie editing.
There are inexpensive alternatives that don't bust the budget but help you compose your video.
There are other free programs like VirtualDub and ZS4 Video Editing Software for Mac, PC and Linux users but they are for the more geek inclined person. Thee are also online editing options; I can research those later but a lot of the free online editing services have disappeared.
Help and Assistance:
Certainly your should dive into the tutorial videos at FreeVlog Make InternetTV is also a good resource. Almost forgot, Video WTF is very open to video questions and assistance.
There were a lot of great questions that were asked so I'll post more answers as the mythical concept of time permits.