Odds and Ends: Viewers claim TV anchor in Maine is Palin look-alike

By The Associated Press

BANGOR, Maine – A Maine TV news anchor who bears a resemblance to the Republican vice presidential nominee says she’s been getting “hate mail and nasty phone calls” from viewers who think she’s trying to copy Sarah Palin’s style.

Cindy Michaels from WVII-TV has long brown hair that she sometimes wears in a style similar to Palin’s, and she also wears glasses.

Michaels says viewers began accusing her of trying to copy Palin’s style or trying to subliminally sway votes.

Michaels told the Bangor Daily News that she’s flattered by the comparisons to Palin.

“She’s a beautiful woman, and I respect her and what she’s done. That doesn’t bother me,” she said. “What bothers me is that people somehow think I’m being a biased journalist.”

NJ justices weigh rights in inflatable rubber rat case

TRENTON, N.J. – A giant inflatable rat is at the center of a free speech case being argued before the New Jersey Supreme Court.

The case pits Local 269 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers against the central New Jersey township of Lawrence.

When the union used the rat in a 2005 protest at a construction site, the township slapped its business agent with a fine, claiming the 10-foot rubber rodent violated an ordinance against balloons and other inflatable signs.

Lawyers for the union argued Tuesday that the law violates their right to free expression and suppresses protest.

The township argues that the union’s use of the rat is a form of commercial speech.