Here are some valuable tools (via the Web) for critical thinking.
Suppose you want to compare the value of something today (2014) with the same item 50 years ago (1964).
Example: A basic 21 in. color TV was $400-500 in 1964. How does that compare with today’s small flat screens (in price only–the quality of image, features, etc. is 1000x better)? You can compare prices, wages, investments, etc., over time with this site: Measuring Worth.
Plug in the data, and the results, based on purchasing power (Consumer Price Index) and similar measures indicate that $400 TV would cost $2960 in 2014. Try it out!
Most news programs and “talk radio” frequently report on poll results. Slick talkers can spin the results to support a position. When they leave out details such as the actual wording of the question, it can confound the truth. Network news rarely goes beyond a simple reporting of “x percent were in favor” and “y percent opposed”. If you want to dig deeper (and you should), this Website has what you need to really understand poll questions and results: Polling Report.com
Who? How many? Where? The U.S. Census Bureau has a ton of data and many ways to view the data, including interactive maps, charts, etc.