Designers Rule the Oscars Red Carpet: Vote for Versace, Valentino and Christian Dior’s Best Dresses Ever!

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Bill Cosby Isn’t The Exception, He’s The Rule

After 52 hours of deliberations, the jury in the criminal case brought against Bill Cosby by Andrea Constand was unable to reach a unanimous consensus. On Saturday morning, Judge Steven O’Neill declared a mistrial.

Constand says that, in 2004, Cosby tricked her into taking three blue pills that incapacitated her and proceeded to sexually assault her. In December 2015, nearly 10 years after settling a civil suit with Constand in 2006 for an undisclosed sum, Cosby was charged with three counts of aggravated indecent assault. 

Although Cosby wasn’t acquitted, and Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin R. Steele said that he planned to retry the case, a mistrial is unquestionably a win for the 79-year-old actor and comedian. A retrial will take time ― and it means that Constand will have to testify about her trauma again.

Journalist Dana DiFilippo tweeted a video of Cosby supporters celebrating after the mistrial was announced:  

Before the Cosby trial began, justice felt somewhat inevitable. Because in a situation like this one, it just feels like it should be.

A man is publicly accused of sexually assaulting nearly 60 women over the course of decades. The stories are explicit, horrifying and similar. Many of them involve drugging and brutal rape. Together, they paint a picture of a serial and methodical sexual predator who used his celebrity to exploit women. 

As far as the court of public opinion is concerned, Bill Cosby’s guilt was all but decided in late 2014, when the floodgates opened and women’s stories began pouring out on what felt like a near-daily basis. And it felt like, for the first time, people were listening

Of course, this was before the country had collectively propped up a man who bragged about grabbing women’s pussies without consent to our highest office. It was before more than 15 women had publicly accused a candidate for President of the United States of sexual assault with little to no tangible impact on his support.

In the cases of both Cosby and Trump, we’re reminded that women are viewed as unreliable narrators of their own experiences, and that powerful men who are accused of perpetrating sexual violence ― even by more than a dozen women ― are assumed to be victims. 

Barbara Bowman, one Cosby’s alleged victims who has been telling her story publicly since 2006, wrote about this phenomenon in an op-ed for The Washington Post in November 2014, after a Hannibal Burress joke about Cosby seemingly woke people up to the reality of his past: 

Why wasn’t I believed? Why didn’t I get the same reaction of shock and revulsion when I originally reported it? Why was I, a victim of sexual assault, further wronged by victim blaming when I came forward? The women victimized by Bill Cosby have been talking about his crimes for more than a decade. Why didn’t our stories go viral?

Two and a half years later, their stories have gone viral. But the legal outcome remains uncertain. 

The lack of a guilty verdict in this case speaks to the challenges that any alleged victim of sexual assault faces when seeking recourse through the criminal justice system. 

There are the statutes of limitations that prevent victims who wait to speak out from seeking criminal charges. There’s the lack of sensitivity training in some police departments. There’s the backlog of rape kits. There’s the difficult-to-prosecute “he said, she said” nature of many sex crimes. There are the questions victims of sexual assault know that they’ll likely be asked: “Why didn’t you report it sooner?” “Why did you talk to him after?” “Were you drinking?” “What were you wearing?” “Were you maybe kind of asking for it?”

Not only are sexual assaults underreported, but according to RAINN, just 7 out of every 1,000 rapists will see a felony conviction. That statistic doesn’t happen in a vacuum.

Cosby may have had significantly more money and fame and press coverage than most alleged perpetrators of sexual assault and rape. It would be easy to assume that his celebrity is what protected him, that Andrea Constand would have gotten justice if her rapist were anyone else besides “America’s Dad.” But statistically, she wouldn’t have. In many ways, his situation was the exception but at the end of the day, he’s the rule. 

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Rule the Web: How to Do Anything and Everything on the Internet-Better, Faster, Easier

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One Rule to Know Before You Break All the Rules

This article was originally published on

I’ve always been an early riser, but I’m not what you would call a morning person. I like the peace and serenity that comes with a sun rise when no one else is awake. I like knowing that when I wake up, I’m guaranteed a hot shower. Lately, I’ve noticed I like getting my daily exercise done early so that it’s out of the way and I can focus on other things for the rest of the day.

Until just a few months ago, I had a day job in the construction industry. Getting up early in that line of work is a prerequisite. On my first day, I was issued an official alarm clock and coffee grinder. If you’re not an early riser, you’re going to become one.

Apparently, I missed a memo, because early mornings at the office aren’t usually spent enjoying the sunrise or improving your health. They’re spent sweating bullets trying to finish work that was neglected yesterday or put out fires that someone else started.

Not exactly my cup of tea, so to speak. I like mornings, but I like them on my own terms.

The Indoctrination

I’m sure you’ve had the misfortune at some point in life of trying to reconcile what you wanted to do with what you thought you had to do. This is exactly the situation I found myself in and it was thoroughly problematic. All these rules that someone else made and I had to follow.

When I was new, I just tried to fit in and do what everyone else was doing. “That’s just how it is,” they said. You show up at 7:00 every morning and leave at 5:00 every evening. It had to be for a reason, right? Besides, I was on an prosperous career track. If I could just get used to this schedule, spending the first hours of every day pulling my hair out in what felt like a incoherent stupor, there’d be years of financial good fortune ahead of me.

This is the part where I state loudly and quite firmly, “Wrong!”

I was fresh to the professional world and wet behind the ears, but it didn’t take too long to figure out why we had this 7:00 to 5:00 rule. Of course, I’ve always been aware that most companies keep set working hours, I just wasn’t always sure why.

Turns out, they had a pretty good reason. Know what it is?

Most employees (in any industry) are completely mediocre and mediocre employees demand (yes, demand!) rules that tell them how to behave.

Setting a schedule that says you show up at 7:00 and leave at 5:00 is an easy way to ensure that average people are at work for an average of 10 hours a day and, if the averages play out, a few of them are productive.

Now, I enjoy sitting around and being unproductive just as much as the next guy, but its not a hobby I care for at work. I like to reserve that kind of activity for weekends and downtime after I feel like I’ve really accomplished something.

At the same time, though, who can kick ass for 10 straight hours? I’m trying, you know, but my bionic brain is still on back order. I felt forced into a position where I either had to completely drain myself every day or adopt this law of averages that just felt wrong.

There’s good news, though. If this is how you feel too, and you’re willing to work a little smarter, you can start making your own rules about your schedule, or about anything at work or in life for that matter.

A Little “Experiment” With Rules

When I realized what kind of system I was in, I knew right away that I wanted out, but I liked my paycheck and I wasn’t really interested in trying to change an entire corporation’s policy.

I’d gotten a lot of praise for the work I’d been doing and it seemed like everyone was really happy with my results, so I decided to do a little test — I quit showing up at 7:00. Yep. I just quit going to work on time. I didn’t do it all at once, and I didn’t just start showing up after lunch, but slowly and surely I started coming to work later and later and doing it more frequently.

And you know what happened? Absolutely nothing! No one even noticed.

You can probably do it too (even though I can hear you saying in your head that it would never work at your job).

Sure, there are some jobs where this kind of stunt won’t work. If you work on an assembly line and all the pieces pile up at your station and break the machine because you’re not there on time, you’re probably out of luck.

But there are far more jobs where it will work. If you’re reading this article between the hours of 7:00 am and 5:00 pm at your desk, then yes, I believe you can do it.

The Secret Formula for Changing the Rules

There’s a catch, though. Are you surprised? There always is, isn’t there?

Remember what I said about average employees needing rules to tell them how to behave? You can’t be one of those average employees and expect to pull this off.

Thankfully, it really doesn’t take much to excel above “average.” If you can grasp this concept (it’s the most important one there is to beating “average”) then you’re well on your way to a much happier workplace:

Success is measured in output of value, not input of effort.

A lot of people think that if they put in the hours, they’ll be noticed and recognized for their effort. It isn’t true. Unfortunately, no one cares how long it took you to complete a job or finish a proposal, or do anything else, really. What they care about is that it got done, it worked, and it worked well.

In fact, the only time anyone is going to care how long it took to do something is when it took too long. And that’s not something you want to be recognized for.

Once you have a real understanding of this concept, you can start using simple productivity tricks to abandon the standard corporate work formula that looks something like this:

(1 hr. of half ass work) + (1 hr. of surfing the net) + (30 min. of frantic work to meet a deadline) = 1 happy boss/customer/client

and substitute it for a much nicer formula that looks like this:

(1 hr. of focused productivity) = 1 really, really happy boss/customer/client

Get it done. Make it work. Make it work well. Consistently nail those 3 things, and you can start changing any rules you want to.

Action is a Revolutionary Act

It’s pretty easy to see how fast you can get ahead when you embrace the reality that people appreciate effort, but they expect results. The funny thing is that this is not a revolutionary concept. When you read it, your first reaction was probably, “Duh!” This is something that everyone, on some level, understands.

But actually implementing it is a revolutionary act. There’s a huge disconnect between those that understand the concept of results over effort and those that actually live by it.

It isn’t easy to do. Most people have been trained their whole lives to do exactly the opposite. They’re even programmed to try to put a stop to it when you decide to do it. But resisting the urge to fit in is exactly what makes you stand out.

If you want to change the rules in another man’s game, you must make yourself an indispensable asset to him. Once you accomplish that, you’re free to make the rules as you see fit and what seems like dangerous behavior to many is, in fact, more empowering to you.

The real danger in this idea comes once you realize you’re tired of playing another’s game. Not a danger to you, but a danger to them. But that’s an article for another day.

Now, over to you. What are your tactics for changing the rules in someone else’s game?

Tyler Tervooren founded, where he shares research and insights about mastering your psychology by taking smarter risks. For more, join his Smart Riskologist Newsletter.

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Author Ann Rule Was Abused, Ripped Off By Her Sons, Cops Say

Bestselling true crime author Ann Rule was bilked out of more than $ 100,000 by two of her sons, one of whom demanded money while she “cowered in her wheelchair,” authorities said.

Michael Rule, 51, has been charged with theft in the first degree and forgery, for allegedly writing himself $ 103,628 in checks from his mother’s bank account, according to charging documents. Andrew Rule, 54, was accused of coercing his mother into giving him $ 23,327 and was charged with first-degree theft. Both are free on their own recognizance awaiting trial.

Ann Rule, 84, the author of 30 New York Times bestsellers, has been in declining health since an October 2013 fall that resulted in a broken hip, according to court documents provided to The Huffington Post by the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office in Washington state. She “is on oxygen at all times,” suffers from periods of “extreme confusion” and is “vulnerable to undue influence,” the documents say.

“She is unable to perform many activities of daily living without assistance,” the court documents state.

Her sons began taking advantage of her weakness last year, according to prosecutors.

Authorities were alerted on March 2, when Rule’s son-in-law, Glen Scorr, told the prosecutor’s office he suspected his mother-in-law was being financially exploited by her two sons.

A joint investigation by the King County Sheriff’s Office and the Normandy Park Police Department revealed that four of Ann Rule’s children receive an estimated $ 25,000 monthly salary through her corporation, Rule Enterprises LLC, for “assigned responsibilities.”

Michael Rule, who lives on a property adjoining his mother’s Normandy Park home, allegedly pressured her into providing him with funds above his monthly salary. He forged her signature on checks from March 2014 to February 2015, authorities said.

Michael Rule’s pressure on his mother included verbal abuse, authorities said. He would “yell at his mother demanding money as she cowered in her wheelchair,” the court documents allege. Once, he became so angry that he “screamed at her and threw a cellphone across the room, smashing it to pieces,” according to the documents.

Police said Ann Rule told investigators that “Mike often goes into rages, where he throws things across the room and sweeps a counter clean with his arm.” One of Ann Rule’s caregivers quit because she was “afraid of Mike and his volatile temper,” the documents say.

Andrew Rule also was aggressive in his pursuit of his mother’s money during 2014, authorities said.

“Andy would pester and bully Ann relentlessly for money, sometimes threatening suicide, sometimes trying to make her feel guilty, sometimes screaming obscenities at her, until she would finally give in and write him a check,” the court documents allege.

Ann Rule was granted a protection order against Andrew Rule in January. He was arrested and charged with violating the order on March 27, police said.

While in police custody, Andrew Rule told officers he “has battled drug and gambling addictions for years and that he used the money provided to him by his mother on gambling and strip clubs,” the court documents state.

Ann Rule declined to comment on the allegations against her children. Her books include The Stranger Beside Me, about the serial killer Ted Bundy.

Neither Michael Rule nor Andrew Rule were available for comment on Tuesday. During an interview with KIRO-TV of Seattle, Andrew Rule denied wrongdoing.

“I have never in my life, as God as my witness, stolen anything whatsoever from my mom,” he told the station. “Basically I used to have a gambling problem but I don’t anymore and I have absolutely no idea why I was pulled in at the same time my brother was,” Rule continued.

Dan Donohoe, a spokesman for the prosecutor’s office, told HuffPost the brothers are scheduled to be arraigned on April 30.


Ann Rule Theft Case

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In the New York Film Fest the Outsize Egos of Artists Rule

There’s sometimes a common theme or recurring character that threads through a film festival. This can be especially striking in a fest as tightly curated as the New York Film Festival. Such convergences usually happen by accident, according to Kent Jones, director of programming at the NYFF.

Often… what it has to do with is the time. Obviously, when people are all making movies at the same time, it’s inevitable that some of them are going to be responding to similar events, occurrences… what’s happening on the horizon… you get movies that talk to each other and that’s always great.

I’m not sure how it’s related to the times, but the 52nd New York Film Fest abounds in characters who make art — on the page, in a concert hall, in movies and theater, or on a canvas. Why so many artists inhabit the fest lineup in this supremely materialistic age I’m not sure. Like most everything, it’s likely connected with the modern plague of economic inequity. Yes, the folks who increasingly own much of the planet can “buy” an artist. But no one can buy talent. Thus the artist’s become a sort of unlikely hero for our times.

Top ranked among these artist-centric films is the not-to-be-missed Mr. Turner by Mike Leigh. It resurrects JMW Turner, the English Romantic landscape painter (late 1700’s to the mid 1800s) known as “the painter of light,” along with a supporting cast of eccentrics to delight Dickens. Awarded Best Actor at Cannes, the superb Timothy Spall captures Turner in his last 25 years in all his curmudgeonly glory. The film departs from Leigh’s trademark loosey goosey accounts of Britain’s working and underclass, harking back to the meticulous period recreation of Topsy Turvy and Gilbert and Sullivan’s creation of The Mikado.

Some will find Turner plotless — but in fact, Turner offers a deep-in plot, as Leigh traces an artist’s inner journey to push his gift to its farthest limits. And going the distance means, for Turner, to hell with everyone else! Leigh’s portrait is unsparing in its revelations of Turner’s odious treatment of a cast-off wife and daughters, as well as a devoted woman servant he occasionally humps like a beast.

This sorry business is leavened by an interlude depicting Turner’s rather charming romance with his landlady at the seaside town of Margate, the inspirational site of much of his work. Leigh drenches the screen in images that arguably make Turner the most gorgeous film of the year. On display are not just the glorious landscapes — Leigh and his brilliant production designer and DP Dick Pope have bottled and put up on the screen nothing less than the palette and light of Turner’s paintings ; the viewer is literally bathed in them.

There are brief, throwaway images — Turner sitting in a boat on a shadowed pond amidst shafts of light, anyone? — that will make you sit up and gasp. Timothy Spall’s ingenious arsenal of grunts seems the perfect “language” to convey his unique style of courtship, dismissal of critics, struggle to surpass his own art — and the sheer difficulty of living.

Featuring Jason Schwartzman as a Philip Rothian-type novelist, Listen Up, Philip offers a way less illuminating portrait of the artist’s swollen ego. Much of Alex Ross Perry’s film tracks the interaction of the writer as self-centered shit with his live-in girlfriend Elizabeth Moss (miscast and misused). Jonathan Pryce, an older, once-eminent writer who has equally alienated most everyone, invites Philip to his upstate country house to write and regroup. This leads to a college teaching gig that gives Philip a fresh opportunity to play toxic boyfriend.

The film’s fearless display of metastatic ego and satire of things literary is, I suppose, good for a few hollow laughs. And a drunken bacchanal involving Schwartzman, Pryce, and two game women they’ve picked up at a singles event is shot in lurching, tipsy verite. But the treatment of the women as mere furniture in a male escapade — they literally get tossed out into the night — leaves a sour taste. And if I never see a woman tearing up over some asshole behaving badly, even if he is a literary genius, it won’t be too soon. Perry’s quirky, off-balance style offers a welcome antidote to canned studio fare. Even so, how did his minor effort make the fest’s main slate?

Musical artists take center stage in Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash. Anchored by Miles Teller and his awards-fodder turn as a jazz drummer, this may just be the feelgood film of the year. This despite the suffering the artist-musician undergoes in his drive for perfection. I have nothing to add to the glowing reviews, except: great screenplay, great acting, jazz to die for — what’s not to love? It’s in theaters. Go see it.

Then there’s the curious case of NYFF closer Birdman. A departure in style for gloom mongering Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, it’s an antic, literally high-flying account of a former iconic film star’s attempt to make a comeback by mounting a Broadway play. Given all the buzz and plaudits from the Venice Film Fest, I came with high expectations. Just think: Michael Keaton in a barn burning role that parallels his own Batmanic past as a movie franchise star; Edward Norton as a loose cannon of an actor intent on screwing up Keaton’s production of a play based on a story by Raymond Carver; and presiding over it all, the genius of D.P. Emmanuel Lubezki (Gravity, The Tree of Life).

The seamless sweep of the camera tunneling through the backstage corridors and planing over the great old theaters of Broadway — not to mention Keaton taking to the sky, birdman style, in cunning CG segments — gives the illusion of a film created in a single take. But will the average moviegoer get that? I doubt it. They’ll get the adrenalin rush, but not the technical leger-de-main. Sometimes programmers paint themselves into a vacuum.

As Keaton’s strung-out daughter, Emma Stone uncorks an impassioned monologue about how the viral world has made old dad obsolete (a highlight, though her features are so harsh they belong on Mount Rushmore). Stone’s tirade echos and “talks to” a similar one by Kristen Stewart giving Juliette Binoche the news that she and her ilk are old school, over.

Less riveting is the ego battle between Keaton and Edward Norton, the latter scampering about in his skivvies, displaying a gut in need of gym time. Birdman unwittingly betrays a disgust with human bodies; Norton’s come-on line, “play with my balls,” stands in for witty repartee. The women revolving around the two alpha males, including an ex wife, abandoned gf, and hot-to-trot daughter, are too carelessly drawn to engage us. Given the many challenges of life in 21st century America, it’s no wonder that Birdman takes to the skies.
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