"I think this highlights one major problem common among web folks: Making changes higgledy-piggledy before identifying what changes actually had to be made."
I appreciate that you are trying to help.
However, labeling my changes as "higgledy-piggledy before identifying what changes actually had to be made" would be inaccurate.
I had contacted several members of the webmasterworld forum (whose names you would recognize) and asked them to take a look at the page. None of them were able to provide a fix for the page. I won't mention their names, but they are people you would recognize, and they make their living doing SEO.
Further, I posted in the members area (where you are allowed to link to your page) asking help. No one in that members area was able to provide a fix.
Aside from this one change (which was significant, admittedly), I did not go around making random changes to my site.
So while I agree that it is much better to make a change that you are certain needs to be made, I must ask how much certainty is there when dealing with Panda and Penguin?