Yeah, I've always wanted a battery life percentage indicator. I'm not sure why Amazon didn't include one. Come to think of it, there are many things they did not include that would be common sense to have in an e-reader. My guess is another Kindle (obviously) will be coming out later.
Anyway, I think the commands should be executed even before anything is shown, because the status bar takes a bit to come up in the first place. And sometimes, it corrupts the graphics on that bottom row, and you need to turn pages before it goes away. That's why I think we should be able to disable it.