Since I couldn't find a way to post a reply on the original question I decided to create my own discussion on this.
The "alt" key is your best friend when working with layers.
Alt click on show/hide, lock/unlock, and expand and collapse arrows will apply to all.
Example: Lets say you have 20 layers, all unlocked, it is starting to become extremely difficult to select just a single item from a single layer. If you alt click any layer, all your layers will become locked, then you can easily just unselect the layer that has your content in it. Alt clicking again unlocks all your layers. (*note - sometimes sub-layers remain locked even when the parent is unlocked).
Again this works with the show/hide and the expand and collapse toggles as well.
In addition I wrote a command and assigned a shotcut key to it that lets you do several very useful layer interactions with one shortcut key.
My command lets you:
1) Copy all your selected objects (regardless of what layer they are in),
2) Creates a new layer
3) Opens the name layer dialog so that you can name your new layer
4) Paste al your selected objects into your new layer.
You can find this comman here with instructions how to install it and how to set up a shortcut key for it). *Note this command is used with John Dunnings (johndunning.com) layers command.
Some other commands that can make it easier to work with layers:
I'm also working on a command that will you navigate the elements in a doc via the keyboard, which should be ready soon.