Spend Matters Afternoon Coffee

A fascinating interview around supplier diversity...on the consumer level.
A Year of Shopping Only at Black Businesses -- The ensuing adventure, dubbed The Empowerment Experiment and chronicled in Anderson's book Our Black Year (coauthored by Chicago Tribune reporter Ted Gregory), took them from gritty corner stores at the epicenter of urban decay to Texas megachurches to the boardrooms of the nation's most powerful trade organizations. By the end, the Andersons emerged from the maw of racial-economic inequality with powerful insights into how black Americans might better wield their collective $913 billion buying power to improve their communities. I spoke with Anderson, whose book comes out this week, about the backlash she encountered, economic segregation in the black community, and the near-impossibility of finding black-made products at Walmart.

Cutting corners...
In Tax Fight, Tribes Make, and Sell, Cigarettes -- The cigarettes, branded with names like Niagara's and Bishop, sell for as little as $39.95 for a 10-pack carton -- much cheaper than those at non-Indian retailers -- and bring in millions of dollars a year to the tribe, which also has a resort casino, five golf courses and a multimedia production house. "We tried poverty for 200 years," the Oneidas' leader, Ray Halbritter, said in an interview. "We decided to try something different."

Jobless claims drop.
Jobless Claims Hold at Four-Year Low -- The number of people seeking unemployment aid was unchanged last week and the four-week average of applications fell to its lowest point in four years, the Labor Department reported Thursday. The figures are the latest evidence that the job market is improving. The Labor Department said 351,000 laid-off workers sought unemployment aid last week. That's the fewest number of people seeking unemployment assistance since March 2008, just a few months into the recession.

No more iPads for the Air Force.
Air Force Abruptly Scraps iPad Plan for Special Ops -- The U.S. Air Force has abruptly cancelled a plan to buy nearly 3,000 iPad 2 tablets, just days after a news site raised questions about including a Russian-developed app for encrypting and reading documents. The original plan, posted in late December on the Federal Business Opportunities website, was to buy 2,861 iPad 2 machines to be used as electronic flight bags carrying digital versions of charts and technical manuals. The procurement specified the use of GoodReader, a popular iPad document reader developed by a Moscow, Russia software developer, Yuri Selukoff, of Good.iware. The same application, which has been well-reviewed by bloggers and tech sites, has been used in two other similar deployments, one for Alaska Airlines and another for Delta.

- Sheena Moore

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