Dan you are mostly right. Very little dietary cholesterol is absorbed... how much depends on genetics and your bodies needs at the time, as well as what other foods are consumed at the same time... soluble fiber, etc. The largest dietary contributor to high blood cholesterol is saturated fat. Too much saturated fat decreased LDL receptor density in the liver, decreasing the livers ability to remove LDL cholesterol from the blood and keeping blood levels artificially elevated.
Saying blood cholesterol has no role in atherosclerosis is outright wrong... we can put atherosclerotic plaque under a microscope and see that it is composed of cholesterol and other things. LDL:HDL ratios are still the best predictor we have for CVD mortality as far as I know... its not 100% accurate, because there are SO many other factors involved... oxidation of lipoproteins, vascular inflammation, etc. What really matters is the class of lipoprotein that is elevated... LDL and HDL are a class of lipoprotein, not a single entity, with certain types being prone towards plaque formation and certain types not (thevaptest.com)http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2007/may ... vap_01.htm
"It's easy for us to connect with what's wrong with us... and not so easy to feel into, or to allow us, to connect with what's right and what's good in us."