_dubord-blog-header The Bord & The Beautiful

  • The New "Dirty Dozen" List of Pesticide-Laden Produce

    Posted by Mike DuBord

    Fruit

    The Environmental Working Group (EWG) released its newest Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides on Monday, which is Earth Day. And apples top its annual “Dirty Dozen” list of fruits and vegetables with the highest pesticide residues for the third year in a row.  More on Shine: Another Reason to Eat Organic
    Other changes from the 2012 findings: cherry tomatoes and hot peppers are newcomers this year. Blueberries and lettuce, meanwhile, dropped off the Dirty Dozen list. The environmental watchdog group uses data compiled by the USDA, based on pre-washed samples of 48 types of conventionally-grown fruits and vegetables, to produce its findings. More on Yahoo!: Colle Farmers Market Reacts to Organic Farming Boom in Russia
    “I think most Americans would be very surprised about how prevalent pesticide residue is,” EWG senior analyst Sonya Lunder told Yahoo! Shine, noting that pesticides were still seen on 67 percent of the samples, which were all either washed or peeled before being tested.
    Among the top three worst offenders—apples, strawberries and grapes—nearly every sample had pesticides on it, Lunder said, with one grape alone showing traces of 15 pesticides.
    The National Institute of Environmental Health Services acknowledges that scientists do not have a full understanding of the health risks associated with exposure to pesticide residues through food, soil, water, or air. Still, notes EWG, various U.S. and international government agencies have linked pesticides to a slew of health risks, including cancer, hormone disruption, brain and nervous system toxicity and irritation to the skin, eyes and lungs.
    Dirty Dozen 2013:
    Apples Strawberries
    Grapes Celery Peaches Spinach Sweet bell peppers Nectarines (imported) Cucumbers Potatoes Cherry tomatoes Hot peppers
    Additionally, the EWG added a “plus” category for the second year, noting two items—domestically-grown summer squash, plus kale and collards—that, though they didn’t meet Dirty Dozen standards, were commonly contaminated with exceptionally toxic pesticides. These organophosphates, dangerous to the nervous system, were phased out of agricultural use in the 1970s and ’80s, but still linger on many farm fields.
    Still, there’s also good news, as the guide includes the “Clean Fifteen”—fruits and veggies with the lowest levels of pesticides, offering hopeful solutions for anyone not in the position to find or pay for more expensive organics. Many of these safest options have naturally protective coatings, such as corn, which tops that list once again this year, and papaya, which is a newcomer. Watermelon, sadly, dropped off the clean list from 2012.
    “The health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure,” notes the EWG report, stressing that “eating conventionally-grown produce is far better than not eating fruits and vegetables at all.”
    Clean Fifteen 2013:
    Corn Onions Pineapple
    Avocados Cabbage Sweet peas (frozen, since they’re more readily available) Papayas Mangoes Asparagus Eggplant Kiwi Grapefruit Cantaloupe Sweet potatoes Mushrooms
    The consumer list, Lunder said, “shows the real difference you can make in your purchasing habits, even if you’re only buying conventional.”

  • a Bacon & Egg Sandwich in a Glazed Donut? My Cardiologist May Not Like it...BUT I WOULD!

    Posted by Mike DuBord
     

     

     

     

    Dunkin' Donuts is testing out a new breakfast offering, and it sounds too good—or maybe too bad—to be true: A bacon-and-egg breakfast sandwich, with a glazed donut as the bread.

    "A few select Dunkin' Donuts restaurants in eastern Massachusetts are currently carrying a Glazed Donut Breakfast Sandwich," Lindsay Harrington, public relations manager for Dunkin' Brands, confirmed to Yahoo! Shine in an email. "The sandwich features bacon and a pepper fried egg on a glazed yeast ring donut."

    As die-hard donut fans, we couldn't help but wonder whether the sandwich was any good. Would the peppery egg compliment or interfere with the squishy sweetness of the donut? Would we even be able to eat the thing easily, given that the outside is completely coated with sugary glaze? Who comes up with stuff like this, anyway?

    We went to four Boston-area Dunkin' Donuts outlets, but had no luck finding the elusive offering. One employee laughed when asked if he would custom-make a donut sandwich for us. Another looked a little queasy when she heard a detailed description of the item. In each store, servers said they hadn't heard of the new sandwich at all.

    No word on how well the $2.99 sandwich is selling, or exactly where—Dunkin' Donuts representatives refused to disclose sales and store-location data to Yahoo! Shine, and though they did say that they are pleased with the response so far, they would not say whether we can expect to see the sandwich in other locations any time soon.

    On Twitter, at least, customers seem either shocked or awed.

    "My disdain for Dunkin' Donuts multiplied tenfold today," Tweeted Yiqing Shao. "New glazed donut breakfast sandwich? Gross."

    "Ummmm, YES PLEASE!!" Tweeted Deestiv.

    "Gotta get back to the East Coast. Dunkin' Donuts has finally gifted us with the glazed donut breakfast sandwich," quipped Michael Clair. "This is the future."

    A few other restaurant chains already merge the sweet and the savory on their breakfast menus. McDonald's offers the McGriddles breakfast sandwiches—a combination of sausage or bacon and eggs and cheese squished between two maple-speckled pancakes—which range from 420 to 550 calories each. Jack in the box offers a similar sandwich, but with waffles (and 470 calories). Dunkin's new Glazed Donut Breakfast Sandwich rings in at 360 calories, according to Harrington, which makes it actually a little bit better for you than the competition.

    Why offer eggs on a glazed donut? The official answer seems to be, "Why not?"

    "We constantly strive to offer a wide variety of products to satisfy the needs of our guests," Harrington told Yahoo! Shine.

    Got a craving for a donut sandwich? While you wait for Dunkin' Donuts to decide whether they'll offer their creation nationwide, we're sure that Paula Deen would encourage you to make your own at home.

     

  • Now That's My Kinda Pizza!

    Posted by Mike DuBord

    Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza Balls Recipe

    Bacon cheeseburger pizza balls have to be served with pickle slices, ketchup and french fries, right? They taste so good with a slice of a pickle and a dab of ketchup on each bite. I made these for an after school snack for my kids but if you want to make them for a larger crowd or for a meal, just increase the number of pizza balls you make and put them into a 9×13″ pan instead of a pie pan.

    Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza Balls by The Gunny Sack

    Makes 10 Pizza Balls

    10 refrigerator biscuits
    1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
    1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
    1/2 cup browned hamburger pieces
    1/4 cup crispy bacon bits
    Black pepper
    Onion powder
    Egg white, beaten
    Parmesan cheese, grated
     
    Preheat the oven to 425°F. Flatten the refrigerator biscuits and top them with shredded mozzarella cheese, shredded cheddar cheese, browned hamburger pieces and bacon bits. Then, add a little more cheese, if desired, and sprinkle with some black pepper and onion powder. Gather the edges up around the toppings and pinch together at the top. Place the pizza balls into a greased pie pan with the seam on the bottom. Brush the tops with a beaten egg white. Sprinkle the tops with grated Parmesan cheese. Bake at 425°F for about 15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with pickle slices and ketchup.
  • I Love Me a One Day Meat Sale!

    Posted by Mike DuBord

     This week, take advantage of amazing deals during Festival’s huge One Day Meat Sale. • It’s going on this Thursday only and it’s a great time to fill your freezer for not a lotta money. • Get all the tasty meats you want at an incredible 20-50% off! • See your local newspaper this Wednesday for all the details or go online to festfoods.com. • You’ll find bargain prices on a huge selection of favorites including: Certified Angus Beef Burgundy Pepper Spoon Steaks, Alda Cod and Haddock Fillets, Precooked Oktoberfest Brats, Half New York Strip Loins, Pork Steaks and Roasts, 80% Lean Ground Chuck, Cooked Shrimp, and much more! • But all of these great deals are while supplies last! • So get to Festival early for the huge One Day Meat Sale! • This Thursday only!

    Fresh Flight Seafood • Looking for a fresh, healthy dinner idea for tonight? • Well look no further than Festival’s new Fresh Flight Seafood! • With Fresh Flight Seafood, the folks at Festival work directly with fishermen and their families to fly fresh seafood from the ocean to stores within 24 hours! • The seafood is flown in from Alaska, Hawaii, Boston, Iceland, and the Atlantic Ocean. • Stop in and try line-caught Fresh Tuna, Swordfish, Cod, Haddock, Mahi Mahi, Rockfish, and others; while available! • Check and see the Fresh Flight Fish floor signs for today’s catch! • With fish this fresh, you’ll taste the difference! • From ocean to your plate in 24 hours! • That’s Festival’s Fresh Flight Seafood.

  • Autistic Girl's Touching "Broken Burger" Story. Break Out The Tissue!

    Posted by Mike DuBord

    A local Chili's restaurant in Midvale, Utah, might have made the grave mistake of "breaking" one little girl's cheeseburger by cutting it in half, but the waitress, manager and line cooks more than made up for it Sunday when they presented her with a brand new "fixed" one.

    Seven-year-old Arianna Hill is autistic and she loves cheeseburgers. But apparently, ones that are cut in half just won't do.

    "We just decided we were going to get some lunch before we were taking her to see the Easter bunny," Arianna's older sister, Anna MacLean, 25, told ABCNews.com. "She usually does OK in restaurants. It seemed to be going pretty well. She wasn't too overstimulated. She was really enthusiastic before we were even able to put our drinks orders in. She told the waitress, 'I'll have my cheeseburger.'"

    However, when Arianna's burger was delivered to the table, MacLean noticed that Arianna wasn't touching it, but instead only eating her french fries.

    "Her verbal skills aren't the best, but she can communicate basic things," MacLean said. "I asked why she wasn't eating and she said, 'I don't want it. It's broken.' She said, 'I need one that's fixed.'"

    MacLean loves spending time with Arianna, but is always prepared to come across someone who might not be as understanding of her special needs. Fortunately, the restaurant didn't skip a beat in correcting the broken burger and their compassionate actions have now gone viral.

    "Our waitress came back over and I felt bad. I don't really expect people to understand these special requests, so I just told her to add a new burger to our bill," said MacLean. "I just told her to charge it to us and she said, 'No way.' She was just so sweet and played along with Arianna."

    The Chili's server, Lauren Wells, didn't hesitate before leaning down to personally apologize for the broken burger and assured Arianna she would bring her a brand new fixed one.

    "The manager came over and did the same thing. It was really a big deal. The line cooks even got involved," MacLean said. "When she brought it back out, Arianna said 'Oh, thank you! You brought me a fixed cheeseburger.' She sat there and looked at it and said 'Oh I missed you,' and kissed it over and over again."

    MacLean was so touched by the staff's compassion and understanding that something as minor as a cut-in-half cheeseburger would be enough to ruin Arianna's whole day that she snapped a photo of Arianna giving the cheeseburger a kiss and uploaded it to Facebook along with a brief description of how well the restaurant handled the situation.

    Before MacLean knew it, the "broken cheeseburger" photo had more than 100,000 "likes" on the social media site, a number that continues to rise rapidly. At the time of this writing, the post had more than 220,000 "likes" and 10,000 comments.

    "It's just touching," said Harrison Dixson, the Chili's general manager. "I had no idea. I looked at it this morning and it had a couple thousand likes. I thought someone would say, 'Hey, good job Midvale. But I'm talking to 'Good Morning America.' This is just unbelievable."

    Dixson said he's gotten calls from people all across the country, including the president of Autism Speaks, an autism advocacy organization, thanking him for the way his manager, Brad Cattermole, and server, Lauren Wells, interacted with Arianna.

    "I can't tell you how proud I am of those two. I've been with this company for 13 years and I've never been as proud as I am today," said Dixson.

    "It turned out great and this turned into something way bigger than anything I ever imaged," MacLean said. "The comments on the post just bring awareness to people. This is Arianna's story. And this is Lauren's story, and the manager. They are a true inspiration."

     

  • Now Here's a Powerball Winner i'm Happy For. Ya Know...If It Can't Be Me.

    Posted by Mike DuBord

    PASSAIC, N.J. (AP) — The winner of a $338 million Powerball jackpot told several media outlets Monday that his first priority will be helping his family.

    Pedro Quezada, 44, entered Eagle Liquors store, where the ticket was sold, late Monday afternoon. The Passaic store owner ran Quezada's ticket through the lottery machine to validate that it was a winner as a newspaper and television outlets recorded the moment.

    The New Jersey Lottery confirmed that the winning ticket was validated at the store at 4:30 p.m. Monday, but officials said they didn't yet know the winner's name.

    Quezada, an immigrant from the Dominican Republic, told reporters in Spanish that he was "very happy" and that he intends to help his family.

    His wife, Ines Sanchez, told The Record in Bergen County that Quezada called her with the news Monday afternoon.

    "I still can't believe it," she said. "We never expected it but thank God."

    The numbers drawn Saturday were 17, 29, 31, 52, 53 and Powerball 31. A lump sum payout would be $221 million, or about $152 million after taxes. It's the fourth-largest jackpot in Powerball history.

    The family's apartment sits at the end of a short dead end block that abuts a highway in Passaic, 15 miles northwest of New York City. Neighbors spoke with pride that one of their own had struck it rich.

    Eladia Vazquez has lived across the street from Quezada's building for the past 25 years. The block has a half-dozen three-story brick apartment buildings on each side, and Vazquez says it's a neighborhood where everyone knows everyone, including what car they drive and what parking space they use.

    Vazquez described Quezada and his wife as "quiet and not overly talkative" but sensed that they seemed to be working all the time.

    "This is super for all of us on this block," she said. "They deserve it because they are hardworking people."

    Alberto Liranzo, who lives two floors below Quezada, said the lottery winner has five children and owns a bodega in Passaic.

    Dominican immigrant Jose Gonzalez said he barbecues and plays domino with Quezada in the summers in a backyard on their street.

    "He sometimes would work from six in the morning to 11 at night, so I did not see him much," Gonzalez said in Spanish. "I am happy for him. ... I don't know where he is now but I imagine he will drop by to say hi to his friends."

    Richard Delgado, who lives down the block from Quezada's building, also described Quezada as "a hard worker, like all of us here. We all get up in the morning and go to work."

    Delgado said he got up Sunday morning and was going to take his dog for a walk when he heard the radio announce the Powerball results.

    "When I heard there was one winner and it was in New Jersey, I immediately went and checked my tickets," Delgado said. "I wanted to be that guy."

    When asked what it would be like to suddenly win such a large amount, Delgado said a person would have to set priorities.

    "No. 1 is your health, because if you don't have that, the rest doesn't matter," he said. "No. 2 is your family. You take care of your own and live the rest of your life in peace. That's all anyone can do."

    No one had won the Powerball jackpot since early February, when Dave Honeywell in Virginia bought the winning ticket and elected a cash lump sum for his $217 million jackpot.

    The largest Powerball jackpot ever came in at $587.5 million in November. The winning numbers were picked on two different tickets — one by a couple in Missouri and the other by an Arizona man — and the jackpot was split.

    Nebraska still holds the record for the largest Powerball jackpot won on a single ticket — $365 million — by eight workers at a Lincoln meatpacking plant in February 2006.

    Powerball is played in 42 states, Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The chance of matching all five numbers and the Powerball number is about 1 in 175 million.

  • What Makes a Man "Husband" Material?

    Posted by Mike DuBord

    Is Your Man "Husband Material"? from YourTango .. they surveyed   mental health professionals and found:

    - you can tell everything you need to know about how a man will treat you by   looking at his relationship with his mother? .. not true said 65% of mental   health professionals

    - 55% of mental health professionals disagree that a man who has never been   married by age 40 likely has a deep-seated fear of commitment or some other   undesirable issue to resolve.

    - 96% of mental health professionals agree that great husbands are made, not   born

    - 58% of mental health professionals agree that single fathers make great husbands.

    - 88% of mental health professionals say that "mama's boys" are not   husband material.

    - 85% of mental health professionals agree that a man with a checkered past   can evolve into a great, lifelong partner.

    Female Survey: "What makes a man husband material?" I'd REALLY like to know your thoughts on this.

  • The Fact That You're Reading This...

    Posted by Mike DuBord

    Wasting Time

    A new survey by salary.com reveals that 66% of workers waste time at work on   a daily basis. Other findings:

    - 34% of people waste 30 minutes or less each day, 24% waste between 30 minutes   and an hour, and 11% waste time for several hours

    - 10% of people never waste any time at work

    - Most Wasteful Day: Friday (43%), followed by Monday (16%), Wednesday (9%),   Thursday (6%) and Tuesday (3%).

    - The survey found that on Tuesday between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. is the most productive   time while between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. on a Friday is the least productive

    Biggest Time Wasters

    surfing news sites ... 37%

    surfing non-work related sites ... 21%

    surfing social media sites ... 14%

    surfing shopping sites ...

    Surfing Mike DuBord's Blog Page...100%

  • Galaxy S4 Or iPhone 5? YOU be The Judge

    Posted by Mike DuBord

    Samsung announced its latest flagship phone, the Galaxy S 4 earlier this month in New York.
    Critics have been going wild because the Galaxy S 4 is real competition to Apple's iPhone 5. The Galaxy S 4 is packed with the latest hardware and software features like a 13 megapixel camera, eye tracking technology, and even a way to use the phone without touching the screen. While the iPhone 5 is still an impressive smartphone, it doesn't hold a candle to the Galaxy S 4.
    The Galaxy S 4 is faster than the iPhone 5.
    Samsung's Galaxy S 4 has a quad-core processor compared the the iPhone 5's dual core processor.
    Primate Labs ran a benchmark test pitting the Galaxy S 4 against other top tier smartphones including the iPhone 5.
    The results show that the Galaxy S 4 is almost two times faster than the iPhone 5.
    The Galaxy S 4's screen is bigger. The Galaxy S 4's screen measures a whopping 5-inches.
    That's a full inch more screen real estate than the Phone 5. A bigger screen means more apps on one page, more space for videos, and higher quality.
    The Galaxy S 4 has better camera software.
    Software aside, the Galaxy S 4 packs a whopping 13 megapixel camera, compared to the iPhone 5's eight megapixel camera.
    The Galaxy S 4's camera has a bunch of software features that will make any amateur look like a professional. It's easier to take pictures and edit them on the go.
    Pictures stand out with features like, photo blur, which allows you to erase people or things from a photo and Share Shot, which lets you sync your friends' Galaxy S phones together to share photos.
    The Galaxy S 4 is more versatile.
    The Galaxy S 4 has the latest version of Android, which by nature is a more customizable operating system than Apple's iOS.
    But besides making phone calls and downloading apps, the Galaxy S 4 can be used as a remote for your compatible Samsung TV.
    Forbes Haydn Shaughnessy of Forbes points out, "on the S4 microsite Samsung says the phone 'suggests different programs based on your preferences, provides program schedules,  and does the channel surfing for you. The Samsung GALAXY S4  even allows you to remotely control the TV or setup boxes.'"
    The Galaxy S 4 is available on all major carriers including T-Mobile.
    The iPhone has yet to make its debut on T-Mobile, leaving some customers out in the dark.
    The Galaxy S 4 has a sharper screen.
    The iPhone 5's Retina Display pushes out an astounding 1136x640-pixel resolution at 326 pixels per inch. But, Samsung used an HD Super AMOLED screen and beefed up the resolution on the Galaxy S 4 to a impressive 1920x1080 at 441 pixels per inch.
    Google Now is light-years better than Siri.
    This is an Android feature but is still counts as a reason the Galaxy S 4 is better that the iPhone 5.
    Google Now is a personal assistant that comes included with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. It uses all the information available in your smartphone to provide you with relevant information. For example, your phone knows the route you take home and if there is traffic it will prompt you to go a faster way.
    If you're about to take a flight, Google Now prompts you to check in and even gives you weather in the destination city.
    Siri just can't compete.
    The Galaxy S 4 has more memory contributing to the overall quickness of the phone.
    The Galaxy S 4 is packed with 2 GB of RAM. That means you can run more apps at once, have more tabs open in your browser, and it just contributes to the overall quickness of the smartphone.
    The iPhone 5 runs on half of that, only using 1 GB.
    The Galaxy S 4 has a removable battery!
    A removable battery means that when your phone is running low you don't have to stay tethered to a plug. Samsung even sells an extra battery kit allowing you to get some extra juice in a hurry.
    Users can expand the Galaxy S 4's storage.
    If you don't want to shell out the extra money for a 64 GB Galaxy S 4, you can expand the smaller sizes (16GB and 32GB) with a MicroSD card. You can also save data to the MicroSD instead of your actual phone's memory.

  • Lying Cheater Sale

    Posted by Mike DuBord

    Lying Cheating Sale: A White Rock, Canada woman recently held a 'Lying   Cheating Sale'. Her Craigslist ad read: "Husband left us for a piece of   trash, selling everything while he is gone this weekend with his floozie. Lots   of tools which he didn't have a clue how to use. I want the house empty on Monday   when he returns because that will be a shock for him to see. So come pick out   what you would like Saturday and Sunday at 8 a.m. Don't come too early (like   he did) because I will be thoroughly enjoying some wine with my girlfriends   this evening as we clean out all this stuff and likely be nursing hangovers   in the morning. So please speak softly to the ladies wearing the sunglasses.   No clothes-buyers as we will have already burned those in the driveway.''

  • Top 5 States That Drink The Most Beer

    Posted by Mike DuBord

    Ok, obviously this study from MSN.Com has got to be rigged! Wisconsin, the beer capital of the world doesn't make it into the top 5??? I don't know if i should be relieved...OR DISGUSTED!

    No. 5: Nevada Per capita consumption: 36.5 gallons Total consumption: 70.5   million gallons (21st lowest) Percent change in consumption '03-'11: -17.2%   (the lowest) Percent binge drinkers: 18.6% (22nd highest) Population density:   24.8/sq. mile (9th lowest)

    No. 4: South Dakota Per capita consumption: 38 gallons Total consumption: 22   million (6th lowest) Percent change in consumption '03-'11: -1.8% (5th highest)   Percent binge drinkers: 22.1% (6th highest) Population density: 10.9/sq. mile   (5th lowest)

    No. 3: Montana Per capita consumption: 40.6 gallons Total consumption: 29.6   million gallons (8th lowest) Percent change in consumption '03-'11: -5.1% (18th   highest) Percent binge drinkers: 20.8% (9th highest) Population density: 6.9/sq.   mile (3rd lowest)

    No. 2: North Dakota Per capita consumption: 42.2 gallons Total consumption:   20.7 million gallons (5th lowest) Percent change in consumption '03-'11: -4.5%   (15th highest) Percent binge drinkers: 23.8% (2nd highest) Population density:   9.9/sq. mile (4th lowest)

    No. 1: New Hampshire Per capita consumption: 43.0 gallons Total consumption:   41.9 million gallons (13th lowest) Percent change in consumption '03-'11: -1.8%   (6th highest) Percent binge drinkers: 18.7% (21st highest) Population density:   147.2/sq. mile (21st highest

     

  • I Thought Politicians Worked For Us...RIGHT!!!

    Posted by Mike DuBord


     

    While extending the payroll tax cut through the end of last year, members of
    Congress last fall took what many feel was a long overdue whack at the cost of
    their retirement plan. They bumped up the rate at which federal employees
    contribute to their pension plan, saving an estimated $15 billion over the next
    11 years.

    They also made sure that none of the increase
    applied to themselves. Anyone in service before the law went into effect would
    pay into the pension plan at the old rate.

    For all the talk you hear from Capitol Hill about running government more
    like a business, Congress has a retirement plan that would make any Fortune 500
    executive blush. Members can retire younger, having contributed fewer of their
    own dollars, than almost any worker in the country - even more than the generous
    terms other federal workers get.

    (Read More: Latest
    GOP Budget Is Ambitious, Unlikely to Pass
    )

    At a time when traditional pensions are disappearing and many
    workers are struggling to save for retirement, the Federal Employees' Retirement
    System (FERS), an old-school defined benefit pension program, pays 215 former
    congressmen and women an average of $39,576, for an average of 16 years of
    service, according to a recent Congressional Research Service report
    .

    That's about what the average private-sector worker makes in retirement from
    all sources after a lifetime of work, according to the Employees Benefits
    Research Institute. The average income that worker gets from a pension is about
    $8,800 - if they have one. In 2010, fewer than 15 percent of private sector
    employees were enrolled in a defined-benefit pension.

    "It's not keeping pace with what's happening in the private sector," said
    Veronique de Rugy, a senior researcher with George Mason University's Mercatus
    Center. "It's not sustainable."

    (Read More: 11
    Historic Fights Worse Than the Sequester
    )

    It's inaccurate, in fact, to refer a single retirement plan, since any
    senator or representative elected after 1986 has access to three: Social
    Security, a 401(k) program that matches 5 percent of their contributions up to
    $17,500, and FERS, which as the name implies covers anyone paid from the federal
    till.

    FERS alone is a plan any U.S. worker would envy. As Jim Kessler, co-founder
    of the think tank Third Way and a former congressional aide, said, "It's not
    wrong to have three plans, but the matching is one-to-one for two of them and
    the other [FERS] is one-to-14."

    (Read More: Despite
    Gains, Many Consumers Still Cut Spending
    )

    As a result, all federal employees get a return on their FERS contributions
    at a rate that's almost double what other workers do. (See chart.) But thanks to
    a faster accrual rate granted to elected employees-how fast the value of their
    benefits pile up-members of Congress even get a higher percentage payout on FERS
    for the same time served than other federal workers do.

    According to calculations by Pete Sepp, executive vice president of the
    National Taxpayers Union, who has been tracking congressional benefits for
    decades, an executive branch employee with 10 years of service and who is
    retiring at age 62 this year would begin his pension at roughly $15,600. But a
    member of Congress of identical age, salary and service would begin at
    approximately $26,600, reflecting his higher contribution. But for his extra
    $11,000 in the first year's benefit, the lawmaker will have contributed only
    $8,350 more to the plan.

    U.S. Capitol building in Washington. REUTERS/Jason
    Reed/Files
    Defenders of the system point out that elected
    politicians have less job security than appointees like our executive branch
    workers. Sepp doesn't buy it. "Not only do you get a lot more in benefits for
    the extra you pay," he said, "but how many Cabinet secretaries stay in
    government for even eight years?"

    Some critics say congressional retirement plans are not only too numerous and
    too generous, but the wrong kind. One of them is Republican Rep. Mike Coffman,
    who has put forward a bill with a fellow Coloradan, Democrat Jared Polis, that
    would end FERS.

    "It makes no sense for Congress to continue to reward itself using taxpayer
    dollars, with a defined benefit plan when ... much of the country has moved to a
    defined contribution plan like a 401K," Coffman said in a statement earlier this
    year.

    (Read More: A
    Rarity: House, Senate Work on Budget at Once
    )

    But as Washington is consumed with the sequester,
    the chances that Coffman and Polis' bill, or the $25 million we spend to support
    our congressional retirees, will get much notice. More pundits have teed off on
    the fact that our senators and representatives-the very people charged with
    averting the automatic cuts to the federal budget-are among the few federal
    employees who won't be touched by them.

    Congress didn't enjoy plush pensions until 1946, when it was thought that a
    gold-plated plan would induce members to cede their seats to young men who had
    been galvanized by the war. But if the current deal is no longer gold-plated,
    said Sepp, "it's silver-plated, and it hasn't been attractive enough to get them
    rotated out of office."