[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/09/t1home.jobs2.gi.jpg caption="Job seekers line up for a career fair in Concord, California. (Getty Images)"]
CNN Financial News Producer
The U.S. economy lost 524,000 jobs in December, bringing the total number of jobs lost in 2008 to 2.6 million. That’s the highest yearly total since 1945 when soldiers began returning home and factories started to wind down wartime operations. And the unemployment rate rose to 7.2% from 6.7% in November. That’s the highest level in 16 years.
Stocks actually opened higher following that jobs report as even though the numbers were dismal, many people thought it was going to be a lot worse. But the rally was short-lived and the Dow quickly turned lower by triple digits.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/01/08/defense.appointments/art.obama.afp.gi.jpg caption="President-elect Barack Obama has chosen a defense expert and lobbyist for deputy secretary of defense."]
CNN Supervising Producer
President-elect Barack Obama, who campaigned on lessening the influence of lobbyists in government, has chosen a defense expert who is currently a vice president and lobbyist for one of the country's biggest defense contractors, to be his Deputy Secretary of Defense.
Obama's transition office announced that William Lynn, an Undersecretary of Defense in President Bill Clinton's second term, is nominated to be Deputy Secretary of Defense to Secretary Robert Gates. Lynn is currently a senior vice president at Raytheon, which has billions of dollars in Defense Department contracts and is the maker of the Army's Patriot Missile system and the Tomahawk missile used by the Navy and is developing a global positioning satellite communication system with the Air Force.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/CRIME/01/07/BART.shooting/art.BART.victim.jpg caption="Oscar Grant, 22, was killed January 1 in a shooting at a subway station in California's Bay Area."]
It has been interesting to watch so many people talk about how America has moved from a nation fixated on race to one where we are now living in a post-racial world, courtesy of the election of President-elect Barack Obama.
There is no doubt that we crossed a huge hurdle with the election of Obama to the highest office in the land.
But that doesn't mean that the realities of race are not being played out in our communities each day.
In Oakland, a semi-riot took place last night after the funeral of Oscar Juliuss Grant III, who was gunned down during a scuffle with Bay Area Rapid Transit officers. Click here to read the Oakland Tribune story on the semi-riot.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/CRIME/01/05/madoff.bail.hearing/art.madoff.jpg caption="Bernard Madoff strolls down New York's Lexington Avenue after news of the scandal breaks."]
Senior Editor-at-large, Fortune magazine
When stock markets are soaring, people think they're making money because they're geniuses. But when the market tanks - which it always does, sooner or later - people look for villains to blame for their losses.
That brings us to Bernie Madoff, who has become the iconic symbol of the current horrible market and economic meltdown, even though he really had nothing to do with it.
Yes, Madoff sure seems to be a really, really bad guy who ruined lots and lots of lives and should probably be locked up for the rest of his natural days.
But Madoff's misdeeds - or as our lawyers would prefer, his alleged misdeeds - have nothing to do with the market meltdown that has sliced trillions of dollars from our collective net worth.
Program Note: Suze Orman will be on AC360° tonight at 10pm ET to discuss how to keep your money safe.
Have questions about how the continued economic trouble and Obama's economic plan will change the market; affect your stocks, mutual funds, 401(k)… your job?
Submit your financial questions here for Suze Orman and watch AC360° tonight 10p ET to get them answered.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/08/art.obamabb.gi.jpg caption="Obama is finding it difficult to give up his BlackBerry."]
The first time I walked into the Oval Office my knees nearly buckled.
I was overwhelmed by the history - to think that Teddy and Franklin Roosevelt worked here; that John F. Kennedy hid candy for his son in that very desk; that LBJ strategized with MLK in front of that fireplace.
And then the newly-inaugurated President Clinton shook me gently from my reverie. "Don't let it get to you, Paulie," he said as he put his arm around me. "This is the crown jewel of the federal penal system."
I suspect President-elect Obama knows how he feels. In a recent interview he expressed a strong desire to stay in touch with the real world.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/08/osama.damo.gaza.save.jpg caption="Osama Damo, deputy Gaza program manager for Save the Children"]
Editor’s Note: Osama Damo is deputy Gaza program manager for Save the Children. He and his wife have been displaced twice since the conflict began; their apartment has suffered damage in the fighting. Currently they are living in a three-bedroom apartment in Gaza City with their two children and 13 other members of their extended family, including four children ages 7, 3, 18-months and 10-months-old.
Save the Children, Gaza
Tuesday we had artillery tank fire in the area. It was one of our worst days. You can’t describe the noise, the fear inside of you. And the children are screaming.
You don’t know what to do. Do you stay? Do you try to leave and find somewhere safe? Is there any safe place? Can you protect everyone? Anyone? Everyone has a different idea about what to do — some grabbing belongings and preparing to run, others yelling that we have to remain.
Your mind stops working. But in the end, we are paralyzed.