HIGHTOWER: Nike Hires a New Perfumer

Here it comes again [Beanicap Breakdown] ... Hightower Radio's "Gooberhead Award," given periodically to prominent figures who have their mouths running at full speed, but don't seem to have their brains in gear.Today's awardee is Maria Eitel, a first-time Goober winner, but given her position, I'll bet it won't be her last. Ms. Eitel has been named to a prestigious new job: Vice President for Corporate and Social Responsibility at the Nike corporation. Gosh, that's a heavy load to shoulder, huh? The giant shoemaker, a notorious sweatshop exploiter, announced that she'll now be responsible for shaping-up Nike's labor practices. Company president Thomas Clarke declared that the hiring of Ms. Eitel "signals Nike's commitment from the top to be a leader ... in global corporate citizenship."Wow, she must be a tiger! Probably has a lot of experience in the fight against worldwide labor exploitation. It'll take a tough cookie to bend the Nike swooshtika toward justice, so let's check her credentials: Let's see, Maria Eitel has been a television reporter ... a White House spokeswoman for the Bush Administration ... and a corporate affairs manager for Microsoft. What? She's a PR flak, a political spinmeister, a corporate con artist!We're to believe that she'll hold Nike's golden feet to the fire?Who do they think they're kidding?In her Nike debut, Ms. Eitel sounded more like a lapdog than a watchdog, declaring that criticism of the company's labor practices have not been justified because this is [quote] " a very complex issue." What a goober. There's nothing complex about the fact that Nike hires teenage girls in Asia to make its pricey shoes, pays them sub-poverty wages and allows them to be abused in the workplace. Nike's new "VP for Corporate Responsibility" is just another public relations cover-up.This is Jim Hightower saying ... They can put French perfume on a skunk, but it still won't hide the stink.

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