to Run for Washington Senate Seat

June 14, 2040
SEATTLE–Web retailer today confirmed widespread rumors that it will seek election to the U.S. Senate, becoming the first corporation to pursue an elected position at the federal level. “We’re gonzo to do great things for the people of Washington State,” exclaimed Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos at a campaign-launch event held for Amazon employees. “Each and every one of us is going to have a part in deciding the most important issues of the day. We’ve done great things bringing great products to great people through a great medium; now we’ll bring them great government too!”

In announcing its candidacy, Amazon joins a small but growing rank of office-seeking and office-holding corporations. Starting with the groundbreaking appointment of Merck to the New Jersey Supreme Court, and culminating, dramatically, with the election last November of Alcoa to the governorship of Ohio, the movement to encourage successful, publicly-held corporations to bring their organizational efficiencies to the public-sector has been gaining popular support. “There were some initial popular perception problems in the beginning,” notes Steven Jingo, head of Corporations for Better Government, a lobbying group for corporations seeking partnership with local and state governments. “But our focus groups are telling us that people really appreciate when companies give back to the community by taking on the responsibility of public office.”

Despite rumored encouragement from both the Republican and Democratic parties, Amazon has bucked the trend and announced its intention to run as an Independent: “Those other parties may have something to offer old economy types, but we speak our own language,” declared Bezos.

“We wish Amazon luck,” concedes Republican Party organizer Henry Door. “Every successful corporate candidate has been on a G.O.P. ticket. We pioneered the whole thing. The Democrats are just playing catch-up on this one.”

“We carefully considered affiliating with one of the two major parties,” explains Amazon campaign director Scott Flipper. “They both made attractive offers, but we felt that affiliating would dilute the value of our proprietary platform. We owe it to our shareholders to defend our patented One-Click Constituent technology.”

Without the support of the two major parties, Amazon will have to be innovative to attract sufficient support to win in November. In addition to employee loyalty agreements requiring Amazon employees to vote for the company, Amazon has also instituted an incentive plan offering additional options to employees for each voter they can sign to an exclusive voting agreement. “Vote Amazon and Save on Shipping!” declares a recent ad campaign targeted at Washington residents and their relatives.

“This comes dangerously close to buying votes,” opines Seattle area political chat host Marie Drape. “But this also shows the sort of innovative problem-solving we get with corporate candidates. You don’t see things like this from traditional parties and traditional candidates. It’s like a breath of fresh air, and the voters are eager for something new that works.”

Sir Robert Downey Jr. Chokes on Viral Sushi, Dies

Dec. 6, 2072
MALIBU–Officials at the Malibu Hospital for Actors and Sports Personalities confirmed this evening that American-born actor Sir Robert Downey Jr. died earlier in the day from advanced, irreversible neural tissue asphyxiation caused when his air-way was obstructed by a piece of “viral sushi” during his lunch at a trendy new restaurant in Los Angeles’ City of Industry neighborhood. “It was a very unsettling scene,” noted a diner present at the time. “We were all just very excited to see him and to be eating in the same room with him, he’s seen in public so rarely. And then this terrible thing happened. It’s a real tragedy.”

Sally Okibuchi, speaking on behalf of the restaurant, was careful to point out that the accident was unrelated to the viral content of the sushi: “At Sony’s New Fish Experience we use fish spiked with sophisticated, tasteful, and fully treatable viruses and bacteria. Mr. Downey’s accident had nothing to do with the way in which our fish is prepared. Our cuts are traditional in size and shape.”

Viral sushi is the latest culinary craze in avant-fad circles in the Southland. With names like “anthrax maguro,” “hamachi scrapie,” and “tamago salmonella”–popularly known as “tamago sal”–viral sushi dishes include traditional cuts of raw fish that have been treated with formerly deadly and debilitating viruses. After treatment, the fish is tenderized and incubated, sometimes for hours, sometimes for days, depending upon the characteristics of the fish and the desired result. Enthusiasts and food experts sing the praises of the infected fish: “Fish spiked correctly with anthrax achieves a richness and dimensionality of flavor that uninfected fish can only approximate,” explains New York Times food critic Aimful Spee. “The auto-immune response of the tissue, in particular the poignant flavor of an immune response which is inadequate, failing, that is the essence of this innovative cuisine.”

In addition to their culinary qualities, certain cuts of viral sushi, through planned interactions with the more common treatments, induce euphoric seizures and periodic dissociative sensory reveries. Patrons and employees believed Downey Jr. to have been experiencing one of these “taste epiphanies” during the forty-five minutes for which his air-way was blocked by an inadequately chewed piece of “tako coli.”

“We are deeply saddened by this tragedy,” explains Fish Experience’s Okibuchi. “Something like this is an unexpected and unfortunate accident. We sympathize with the loss all of his many fans must feel.”

Downey Jr., only the second American to receive the honor of British knighthood, was best known for his decades-long performance as a troubled, drug-addicted actor in turn-of-the-century Hollywood. Widely recognized as the first actor to fully realize the potential of autobiographical celebrity performance, and widely revered by the generations of students studying his methods, Downey Jr. is survived by two clones and a corporate subsidiary.

Syringe Found in Egg, ADM Disclaims Responsibility

Sept. 11, 2045
DECATUR, IL–Colin Bert, a local Illinois farmer and father of six, was shocked last week to crack open an egg and discover a miniature syringe suspended in the yolk. “I was simply bowled over,” exclaims Bert. “I’ve heard of this happening on the beach in New Jersey or somewhere. I never thought I’d find stuff like this here in Decatur, let alone inside my eggs. I expected more from ADM.”

An official statement from ADM contends that “it is impossible that a syringe could insinuate itself into the egg manufacturing process. Any claim to the contrary will be referred to our legal department.”

Already a number of similar claims have surfaced, including that of Rene Feete of Irvine, California whose videotaped egg dissection, revealing a human tooth, has been featured prominently on local news broadcasts. Other claims allege discovery of a Band-Aid, tweezers, bottle caps, and a miniature latex glove inside ADM eggs.

Egg sales have jumped sharply in the past week, prompting speculation that ADM has secretly fed the rumors in hopes of capitalizing on consumers’ hunger for product liability strike suits. “Reverse-spin PR has always been in the Madison Avenue arsenal,” points out media pundit Skip Rogers. “This could be a real gutty move on the part of ADM.”

Industry analysts go further, citing a recent patent filing by ADM that claims proprietary interest in “genetically modified laying poultry expressing genotypically determinable propensity to produce co-ovulary sucro-polymer figurines for marketing and promotional purposes.” Shirley Funk, lead Bio-foods Analyst at Merrill Lynch explains: “Kids already follow the exploits of characters like Brainywheat(TM) and Mechacorn(TM) on ADM’s popular BEASTer webcast. Then they look for the edible figurines in their cereal boxes in the morning. I suspect that what we’re seeing are some early missteps in tie-in marketing linking ADM’s popular show to a newly engineered egg.”

While the theories fly fast and furious, ADM stock continues to climb in heavy trading. “The syringe thing is a PR godsend for ADM traders,” says one source.

“I just want medical waste off my plate and back on the beach where it belongs,” maintains Bert.

New Clothing Line to Help Publicly-Held Individuals

May 28, 2063
WASHINGTON DC–In the wake of recent court decisions upholding rulemaking concerning disclosure requirements for publicly-held individuals, SEC Inc. has begun to market and license apparel designed to satisfy the complex and sometimes arcane regulations. The clothing, marketed as “disclothing,” bears dynamically-updated mandatory personal disclosure statements, and, for post-IPO individuals, a current trading price and volume ticker. “We realize that most individuals who have decided to go public lack the legal and financial resources to thoroughly understand the disclosure requirements to which they are subject,” explains SEC spokesperson Eva Jump. “So we’re trying to bring to market some user-friendly products that’ll make it easier for people to take advantage of the capital markets.”

The garments are made from Light-Emitting Polyester–commonly known as Leppy–and currently include traditional khakis and blue, button-down oxfords. “We are only currently offering two styles of disclothing,” points out Jump. “But we do have agreements with a number of popular manufacturers, including AOL-Gap and J. Crew. They’ll be bringing out some very stylish outfits later this year.”

Each piece of disclothing satisfies disclosure regulations by boldly displaying any recent 8-k filings detailing, in particular, events that may have materially adverse effects upon the individual. “At first I was a little uncomfortable wearing a shirt that said ‘RECENTLY DIVORCED’ and ‘DRINKS DURING LUNCH,'” explains Jamie Dougle, a publicly-held insurance executive and mother of three. “But, once I realized how much easier compliance would be if I wore these clothes, there really wasn’t any decision to make.”

SEC rules now provide a safe-harbor from civil liability for incomplete or improper disclosure for publicly-held individuals wearing disclothing 90% or more of the time they spend in public. The garments measure the amount of time they are worn through random genetic signature tests of the wearer’s skin, measure the time during which they are the outermost garment by means of light-sensitive sensor-threads, and plot all information an a GMT synchronized calendar. GPS triangulation helps the garments to determine when they are in public and when in private, and bluetooth local RF protocols permit all of the garments in an individual’s wardrobe to exchange and synchronize data.

Though lauded for its convenience by the majority of publicly-held individuals nationwide, disclothing is not without its critics. “I opposed the spin-off of the SEC precisely because I knew it would introduce ‘innovations’ like these,” exclaims Senator R. Rodney (G-New Mexico). “We’ve seen little public debate over the accelerated adoption of rules enabling individuals to sell themselves on the market, and now we see the Commission acting more like a private-sector hawker of consumer goods than like an independent regulatory corporation.”

“I know that some people are worried about the ‘privacy’ implications of the clothes,” admits Dougle. “But a lot of the same people told me I was becoming a ‘slave’ by offering myself on the market. Nothing could be further from the truth. I’m now publicly owned. Isn’t that what being a real part of the community is all about?”