Back the last time permanent accounts went around (when isquiesque got hers, I think), I would have tried for one, but I had been lazy and hadn't paid my CC bill in a couple of months.
However, I managed to grab one "the hard way"--Brad Fitzpatrick posted about a bug they couldn't find with a C-rewrite of a small component of a small component of LJ (a header parser for perlbal, if you care), and offered a permanent account to anyone who found the bug. I spent about an hour code-reviewing it. The fact that I'm still primarily a C programmer and I probably write linked-list code 5 or 10 times a year helped me spot a two-line bug; I reported it last night, spent a few minutes this morning writing an analysis predicting the scenario that would break, Brad made a test case based on that analysis (I think) and verified that it crashed and the fix fixed it. Score!
I guess I'll definitely be using LJ for the long haul.