Al Kamen
Al Kamen
In the Loop

‘Breaking Bad’ and the other Saul; a few good deals for federal workers to offset the raw deal

Can’t get enough of Saul Goodman from “Breaking Bad”? The sleazy lawyer took a bow in Sunday night’s series finale, though there’s talk of a Saul-focused spinoff.

Turns out, Washington has its own Saul Goodman , attorney at law, and he couldn’t be more unlike his on-screen counterpart.

Al Kamen

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993. He began his reporting career at the Rocky Mountain News and joined The Post in 1980. He has covered local and federal courts, the Supreme Court and the State Department. Follow him on Twitter.

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Let’s recap: TV Saul specializes in helping meth dealers out of scrapes. He wears flashy suits, operates out of a strip-mall office and appeals to potential clients with low-budget late-night TV commercials.

Real Saul, on the other hand, is a partner in the white-shoe firm Covington & Burling, where he specializes in insurance law. He reps a slightly higher-brow crowd, including Merck and the American Chemistry Council. Conservative suits.

The TV lawyer has a degree from the University of American Samoa. The real one is a Yale-and-U-Va. guy.

And, as it turns out, Real Saul isn’t yet a fan of the show.

“I have heard that ‘Breaking Bad’ is a great show, but haven’t yet watched it and really can’t comment,” he told us in an
e-mail.

Still, perhaps there’s something he could learn from his downscale namesake. Here’s his firm’s sales pitch: “Covington & Burling LLP represents clients in cutting-edge technology, litigation, white collar defense, transactional, governmental affairs, international, life sciences and other matters.”

Not bad. But “Better Call Saul” is a whole lot catchier.

Open and shut

Some federal employees around town were busy on Monday with shutdown planning, gaming out how their agencies will cope if the lights do, in fact, go out. Others were working on their personal shutdown strategies.

They’re in luck — local dining establishments are offering furloughed feds some shutdown succor. There’s booze to dull the pain of being considered nonessential. And comfort food to soothe those anxiety attacks brought on by not being surgically attached to your BlackBerry.

For starters, the local chain Z Burger is offering free burgers to shutdown-affected folks. And the Georgetown location of Sprinkles Cupcakes is dishing out a free confection to government workers showing their IDs.

For the duration of the potential shutdown, Alexandria’s Port City Brewing Co. is knocking 20 percent off its Essential Pale Ale on draft and for growler fills for those visiting the brewery’s tasting room. Downtown, Carmine’s is shaking up a $12 shutdown-themed special cocktail. The Olive Branch (get it?) features Plymouth gin, olives, pickled onions and rosemary.

Meanwhile, at the P&C Market, not too far from the Capitol by Lincoln Park, a sidewalk sign offered passerby some advice on how to survive a shutdown: “Buy beer/wine, drink, repeat.”

Sounds like a plan.

A shutdown wouldn’t be good for the dining establishments near the Capitol and other buildings where federal employees toil, since fewer workers means fewer customers taking lunch breaks or meeting for close-of-business drinks. (Though pizza-delivery joints might see an uptick.)

But look for more shutdown-related specials as local watering holes look for a silver lining.

Geyser grigio, perhaps?

Speaking of imbibing, you’re not permitted to drink alcohol on some parts of the National Park Service land. Elsewhere, however, you can always sip a fine Yosemite Red Blend or Mesa Verde Chardonnay, part of the official wine collection of the park system.

The promotional tie-in between the nation’s parks and the Sonoma winery that produces the vino is a novelty — though it could become more common as the Park Service looks to step up its profile (and fundraising) leading up to its centennial in 2016.

Park Service Director Jon Jarvis agreed last year to waive the rules barring collaborations between the National Park Foundation — the fundraising arm of the nation’s parks — and wine and tobacco companies to create the “National Park Wine Collection” (tagline: “Wines with a Cause”). According to a Park Service waiver obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by Jeff Ruch, executive director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, Jarvis signed off on the plan.

And so was born the collaboration with Adler Fels Winery, a wine producer known for its Kitchen Sink blends and the Leaping Lizard label. For the national parks line, $2 per bottle goes to the Park Service, which has netted the foundation just under $25,000 in the first three months, a foundation spokeswoman tells us.

In the request for a waiver, the foundation suggested that if all goes well with this collaboration, it could open the door for other agreements with booze companies. So perhaps we can expect a Redwood Red Ale, or a cold brew labeled “Hot Springs”?

So, now the really important question: Is it any good, or is it swill? Alas, we didn’t get the chance to taste the park wines ourselves, though the Web site touts them as being “fruit forward and food friendly” and says “the premier release artisan blends are composed of complementary varietals that build to a complex but accessible crescendo on the palate.”

Dot-calm down

From the Department of Much Ado About Nothing, it turns out that the Environmental Protection Agency wasn’t actually trying to sneak around recordkeeping responsibilities with that secondary e-mail account that Lisa Jackson famously used as EPA administrator.

That’s according to a new inspector general’s report, which was ordered by House Republicans convinced that Jackson was up to something shady with her alias e-mail account (using a combo of her dog’s name and her home town of East Windsor, N.J., to come up with “Richard Windsor”).

Such accounts were common, the IG found, and they were used to handle large amounts of e-mail. And the IG determined that EPA officials didn’t use nongovernmental accounts to try to get around the rules, either. “OIG found no evidence that [officials] used private email to circumvent federal recordkeeping responsibilities,” it concluded.

The IG did suggest better oversight and training about keeping records with private ­
e-mail accounts and a general tidying up of its recordkeeping.

But at least when it comes to the GOP’s accusations, it appears this dog won’t hunt.

With Emily Heil

The blog: washingtonpost.com/
intheloop
. Twitter: @InTheLoopWP.

 
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