Then what I did, was go around to all the different frameworks. I don't even think JQuery existed in it's current incarnation at that point (December of 2005), and I looked around at as many as I could (dojo, MooTools, and a few others that have since become relics). This post though, isn't about the greatness of these frameworks; rather it's about the terrible abuse.
With any new technology, there will be people who embrace it for ease of use and creating a new standard, and then there will be those who completely abuse it.
These tallies were retrieved via after the DOM had been rendered, so they may not match up perfectly with the source, but I assure you they're accurate.
If you visit this site, you're not going to notice too much. A few swfs, a bit of animation, and a few non-css related hover effects. In no way, should this account for the number of requests for just js/css assets. It doesn't make sense, and is terrible programming/development. I understand that in many projects, control is sometimes non-existent. You need to conform to someone elses demands, some other developers tendencies, or some other designers inexperience. But for the firm who developed this site, if anyone had taken a look at the source after it had been finished, a huge red flag should have gone up.
Concatenating files is easy; minimizing requests is easy, and a faster client side render time will actually make you money, for a relatively low cost (maybe 2 hours). This speaks to what frameworks are doing these days.
JS frameworks, and even php/server side ones like CakePHP and CodeIgniter (ones I'm working with now) are leading to a generation of websites and applications that were developed by people who have very little idea what they're doing. I don't think it's much different than the age of FrontPage/Dreamweaver/GoLive developed sites, but it's certainly not something that you should be paying for it you're working with a development firm. It's annoying as a developer to see this, and probably a do-or-die thing if I were to be working with or hiring another developer to work with me.