Tell that to the developers of vBulletin 4, PLEASE.
OP's question is what I call the result "anti-table mafia" rhetoric that was so rampant five or six years ago, and STILL floats around out there for no good reason.
If each row is related data, and each column all contains the same type of data... and you have headings for your columns -- that's tabular data... The entire reason tables EXIST.
Your code IS outdated though -- even your second post's code is outdated. You see, we have these other tags called TH and CAPTION. You should really look at those.
Also, since you don't really HAVE a THEAD, there's no reason to state TBODY... and of course all that inlined-style is just a disaster.
<td class="where">Bell Telephone Laboratories - Murray Hill</td>
<td>1968 - 70</td>
<td class="where">Michigan State University</td>
<td>1970 - 76</td>
etc, etc, etc...
99% of the time people use a full width colspan and strong inside a table, they're doing it all wrong. The TH says what the row is about (you may want to add SCOPE), the class is there just to be able to tell the two TD apart in legacy browsers that don't know sibling selectors, first-child or nth-child...
Though looking at what you're aiming for -- especially that most recent post where the number of TD/TH seems to vary from row to row... I'm starting to think this isn't tabular data as no relationships in terms of columns are maintained.
that last post in particular is total gibberish -- you need to have the SAME number of columns inside EVERY TR -- and as pointed out TH is used INSTEAD of TD, not inside of or around.