(Jason Goecke via Flickr with Creative Commons)
These resources provide helpful background and history, statistics, and current trends around controversial topics:
The Pew Research Center provides information and reports on "on the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world." A great source of current statistics and analysis.
For national & international news:
U.S. Major Dailies (Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post)
For a local or regional news: