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HARD NUMBERS: Toronto hate crimes soar, Rare loon appears, Senate staff knocked for diversity problem, US book-ban boom, Big audience for tonight’s debate, Plus: Is Biden a better baker than Trump?

Jewish students, supporters and U of T faculty hold a banner during the rally against hate.

Jewish students, supporters and U of T faculty hold a banner during the rally against hate.

Shawn Goldberg/Reuters

55: Hate crimes in Toronto have soared 55% over the past year, with antisemitic attacks accounting for the lion’s share of the more than 200 incidents registered so far in 2024. Local police say they have arrested more than 100 people in connection with hate crimes since Oct. 7, 2023.

4: It’s been four years since this white loon has been seen — no, that’s not an election joke, folks. Rather, it’s the true story of a Canadian photographer who recently snapped a photo of an extremely rare loon with all-white plumage rather than the waterfowl’s typical black-and-white outfit. He last saw the bird in 2020.

21.4: The staffers who work for US senators don’t look, broadly speaking, like the constituents they serve. According to a new study, people of color account for just 21.4% of Senate advisers and assistants, more than 20 points below their share of the overall US population.

4,349: Are you or your kids reading banned books? In the US, there’s a growing chance that the answer is yes, as at least 4,349 books were banned in public school districts or libraries in the second half of last year alone. In the previous school year, roughly 3,300 titles were blacklisted. Themes such as violence, sexuality, gender identity, and racial diversity are among the most commonly cited reasons for the bans, which played out across 23 states.

60: Roughly 60% of American adults say they’ll tune into the first 2024 Biden-Trump debate tonight, according to a new poll. Our own X poll numbers say 75%, but we’ve got a particularly engaged audience. Here’s what you can expect from the debate. Will you be watching? Will it matter? Vote in our GZERO X poll here.

33: OK, enough with the policy issues and the age/insanity stuff with Biden and Trump. What we really want to know is: Who would be a better designated driver? A hilarious new YouGov poll on non-political issues found both men in a dead heat, with 33% of drunk respondents willing to hand each man their car keys. Among other questions, Biden was the favorite as a babysitter, houseguest, parent, and baker. Trump was seen as a better poker player, financial adviser, arm wrestler, and desert island survivor.


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