Mad Men Water Balloon Scene Really Happened

Megan’s birthday song for Don became the main topic of conservation about the season premiere of Mad Men, but there were also many other memorable scenes. The episode was framed by the dropping of a water balloon on a civil rights march by employees of a competing advertising firm and the consequences after Sterling Cooper Draper Price responded with their equal opportunity ad. The New York Times reports that the dropping of a water balloon was based on an actual incident in 1966:

Everything in the scene really happened, written almost verbatim from an article on Page 1 of The Times on May 28, 1966.

“Poverty Pickets Get Paper-Bag Dousing on Madison Avenue,” the headline read. The article described more than 300 people picketing the Office of Economic Opportunity, between East 40th and 41st Streets, the day before, chanting, “O-E-O, we’ve got the poverty, where’s the dough?” Executives upstairs at Young & Rubicam, half a block from the building, shouted at the protesters, and hung up signs saying “If you want money, get yourself a job.”

And then, the article said: “A container of water was pitched out of one of the windows of the building, splashing two spectators. Later, two demonstrators were hit by water-filled paper bags thrown from the building.”

A 9-year-old boy was struck. Several women in the protest, including the boy’s mother, hurried up to the advertising agency’s sixth-floor offices and confronted a secretary about the water throwing.

“This is the executive floor,” the secretary said. “That’s utterly ridiculous.”

“Don’t you call us ridiculous,” a protester shouted. “Is this what Madison Avenue represents?”

“And they call us savages,” a protester named Vivian Harris said.


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Romney Unable To Handle Health Care Questions From Jay Leno

Mitt Romney is having a tough time answering questions on health care, even from Jay Leno:

On health care, Leno pushed Romney to explain what he would offer Americans with pre-existing medical conditions so that they might retain their coverage, perhaps the most popular provision of the president’s healthcare law.

“People with pre-existing conditions, as long as they have been insured before, they are going to be able to continue to have insurance,” Romney said, describing his vision for health care if the Affordable Care Act were to be struck down or repealed.

“Suppose they haven’t been insured,” Leno countered.

“If they are 45 years old and they show up and say I want insurance because I have heart disease, it’s like, ‘Hey guys. We can’t play the game like that. You’ve got to get insurance when you are well and then if you get ill, you are going to be covered,’” Romney responded.

But when Leno pushed back, telling Romney he had friends who had worked in the auto industry who had never had insurance before and now were able to get coverage, Romney seemed to soften his stance somewhat.

“We’ll look at a circumstance where someone is ill and hasn’t been insured so far, but people who have the chance to be insured – if you are working in the auto business for instance, the companies carry insurance, they insure their employees, you look at the circumstances that exist – but people who have done their best to get insured are going to be able to be covered,” Romney said. “But you don’t want everyone saying, ‘I am going to sit back until I get sick and then go buy insurance.’ That doesn’t make sense. But you get defined rules and get people in who are playing by the rules.”

Leno  turned out to be a harder interviewer than most of the journalists in the mainstream media, actually asking a sensible follow up question. In the past Romney, like most Republicans, supported an individual mandate because of situations such as this, but he has flip flopped on that. I’d also like to know how he would handle the common situation of people losing their insurance coverage because of becoming too ill to work, along with the frequent cases of people losing their insurance because their employer dropped coverage.

Romney’s inability to give a sensible answer is characteristic of his entire campaign. Perhaps this is why Romney’s unfavorability rating has hit 50 percent, why Obama now leads Romney by 11 percent in a head to head match-up, and why Obama leads in key battleground states. Of course Romney isn’t helping himself by telling a “funny anecdote” about his father closing down a factory.