re: "soft" front end
Update: took the car to the alignment shop and had them check it from stem to stern. Also had the foreman drive it. He put it thru some paces, and disagreed with my assesment. He felt springs/shocks/sway bar etc. were all fine as it returned to center and responded as it should. He classified it as "over responsive", not soft. He's right, thats the proper description.
Here is where it got interesting. He says more caster will help high speed stability, but too much caster can cause my over responsive symptoms. so we reduced the caster to 1 1/2 - 1 3/4. We can increase the toe, and maybe try to adjust bump steer, etc. but he wants to do one thing at a time, so for now, just the reduced caster. Going to drive it over the holidays and decide if it's better/worse/ or the same. [ the drive home was in heavy traffic, so I'm reserving judgement till I drive it under many conditions, but seemed to feel better]