Thank you so much for helping me through this. I am afraid that I am having trouble following you, and furthermore worry that you might have exposed a huge hole in my education.
I am beginning to see why most navigation schemes are vertical instead of horizontal-- then you don't have to worry so much about margin differences, and you can make practically everything display as block. However, my boss is in love with horizontal navigation schemes (look at the previous one at the root.) This scheme works like this:
(repeat for each section)
Necessarily, not only do the headers need to be displayed inline, but all the lists need to be inline below the collection of headers! Since I really haven't been able to locate any best practices for this sort of thing, I've had to invent it as I went along.
This is all going to get academic after this point:
I for one abhor absolute positioning. I tried using it here, but when the browser resized, the elements stayed in their x/y position, which completely broke the layout. Percentages don't help-- they just make the math more complicated and the layout more unreliable.
I always thought that whenever you declared a height to any element, you also automatically HAD TO declare its positioning (i.e., absolute, relative, etc.) Subsequently, I also try to avoid height declarations unless unavoidably necessary.
I am currently reviewing the W3C documentation on the Visual Formatting Model. But if you can direct me to any other resources to fill in this hole in my understanding, I'd sure appreciate it!
(BTW, this all does seem to be working well now on the staging server--which I must keep behind a login wall.)