April 23, 2020

"Obviously, the FDRLST employees are not literally being sent back to the salt mine. Idioms have, however, hidden meanings."

"In viewing the totality of the circumstances surrounding the tweet, this tweet had no other purpose except to threaten the FDRLST employees with unspecified reprisal, as the underlying meaning of ‘salt mine’ so signifies."

Wrote Judge Kenneth Chu, quoted in "The Federalist Publisher’s Tweet Was Illegal: Labor Board Judge" (Bloomberg Law), about a tweet by FDRLST Media chief Ben Domenech. It's considered a minor violation and the remedy is only that the company must give the employees notice of the violation and tell them they have the right to unionize.

Interestingly, Domenech doesn't have to delete the tweet. Here it is:


I don't know how old Chu is or how old the workers at The Federalist are, but Domenech is 38, which is 3 decades younger than I am, but I want to tell you about the idiom "back to the salt mine," as I understand it, which has to do how it was used in the mid-20th century, when it was common. I don't think it's common today. Domenech sounds like a much older person and he's using what I see as a cornball locution. It's completely out of touch to threaten workers like that. I'm not quarreling with the judge's rejection of the argument that it's just a joke.

Anyway, "back to the salt mine" — at least in the old days — used to be something people said when they were going to work. It didn't mean they had a bad or onerous job or that they hated their job. It was a lighthearted hyperbole — a way to say "I'm going to work." It often meant that the job was easy. It's a type of corny exaggeration that men years ago would say with a smile — like calling your wife "the old ball and chain."

I have no idea if Domenech had the right colloquial feeling for the old expression. He wrote "send you back to back to the salt mine." Seems like he's mixing the expression up with something else. And it was a dumb thing to say. Don't scare employees about their right to unionize!

116 comments:

BarrySanders20 said...

I always associated the term with work related monotony. Same old thing. Dig some more salt.

Jupiter said...

Perhaps. In Roman times, slaves worked the salt mines, and they did not last long. You may recall at the start of Spartacus, Kirk Douglas is working in the salt mines. His immediate supervisor communicates with a whip.

Birches said...

Wow. Althouse completely misreads Domenech here because she's not young enough to understand.

Which is exactly what the judge did too.

Jupiter said...

But if he is telling his current employees, that he will send them back to the salt mines, that implies that he rescued them from the salt mines and he can send them back. Which, given conditions in the pathetic daycare option currently referred to as "journalism", is probably true.

MadisonMan said...

I've used the idiom myself this week!

This needs the tag That's not Funny.

DanTheMan said...

"The salt mine" is a very common reference in our house. Our children know it well. It's usually used as a lighthearted threat as in "do X or it's off to the salt mine with you..."

Or, more typically now: "That salt is not going to mine itself..."

The Vault Dweller said...

Domenech sounds like a much older person and he's using what I see as a cornball locution

I think if anything the antiquated reference is another indicator it is a joke. Though I'll admit union rights aren't highly regarded in my estimation, so perhaps my emotions color my judgment. Had I said it I would have said Salt Mines, instead of the singular. The plural suggests an interminable amount of Sisyphian servitude. Also policing a young man's language like that hints at sexism.

Expat(ish) said...

Or he believes that. The Federalist was like a salt mine and can be again, under less enlightened management.

Clearly it was full of snowflakes.

-XC

PS - I've been diving in the Bonne Terre salt mine in St. Louis. In the middle of a snow storm. So a salt mine can be entertaining.

JML said...

They are journalist. You'd think they would know of the violation and their right to unionize. And I grew up with and used the phrase in question. People are thin-skinned stupid.

Psota said...

Was unionization really an issue at the Federalist?

my impression is a lot of the writers there are people with regular jobs who post commentary. Either that or they're recently graduated right-wing journalism students.

If any of them tried to unionize, I would question their conservative bona fides.

The tweet didn't relate to an active unionization effort as far as I can tell. The complaining party was not an employee, but a Massachusetts attorney.

Looks more like someone trying to suppress conservative speech by bringing a claim that would never work against a similarly situated liberal journalist.

tim maguire said...

With the "salt" dropped off, it's still a common enough phrase--"It's back to the mines for me" said at the end of a break. You're right that it's said with a nod and a wink because the work conditions are nowhere near as harsh as in a mine.

I don't know the arguments The Federalist made, but the tweet is a bit of nonsense, probably good humoured nonsense. I'd have a hard time describing what precisely it means in this context, but there is no reason to conclude it's a threat.

DanTheMan said...

>Looks more like someone trying to suppress conservative speech by bringing a claim that would never work against a similarly situated liberal journalist.

Give that man a cigar.
Or do I have to explain that I'm not actually referring to an in person delivery of a physical cigar?

Jack Klompus said...

When the race of super insects conquers us we'll be toiling in underground sugar caves.

Skeptical Voter said...

Oh these young uns. They just don't understand malarkey. If Joe Biden gets elected, he'll teach them how to express themselves.

wendybar said...

Meagan McCains husband was being sarcastic. That's the way I took it.

alan markus said...

He was trying so hard to not say "I'll put y'all back in chains."

Psota said...

There's no context to the tweet. Why did he send it?

Without looking, I'm willing to bet that he sent the tweet as a response to the efforts of left-wing journalists, maybe at Young Turks, to unionize. That was kind of an active controversy for a while.

So he was humorously commenting on someone else's newsworthy story and suggesting that this would never happen at his site precisely because his people would not unionize.

it also doesn't make sense that he doesn't have to delete the tweet. Doesn't that mean the harm continues??

Birches said...

I will note that the Bloomberg Law article has scrubbed their mention that the tweet was made the same day as Vox Media unionized. Probably doesn't want to call attention to the fact that Vox Media has been laying off workers left and right. No such layoffs happenings at the Federalist that I can see. Interesting.

Btw, psota is right. I don't think many of the writers at the Federalist are on salary, they get paid by the article, I suspect. Not really anything to unionize.

Birches said...

The Federalist doesn't even have office space. They're all work from home... another reason why they are not laying people off right now when other media companies are going under.

frenchy said...

Enough with the sophistry. What's really going on is a jejune deep-stater is loving getting in touch with his inner Stalin and squelching what others think are free speech rights.

Fernandinande said...

It didn't mean they had a bad or onerous job or that they hated their job.

That's exactly what it meant.

It was a lighthearted hyperbole — a way to say "I'm going to work.

No it wasn't.

I'm kinda embarrassed that I roped myself into responding to more trolling.

"Before the advent of the modern internal combustion engine and earth-moving equipment, mining salt was one of the most expensive and dangerous of operations because of rapid dehydration caused by constant contact with the salt (both in the mine passages and scattered in the air as salt dust) and of other problems caused by accidental excessive sodium intake.

Salt is now plentiful, but until the Industrial Revolution, it was difficult to come by, and salt was often mined by slaves or prisoners. Life expectancy for the miners was low."

Lighthearted, fun loving slaves and prisoners!

Josephbleau said...

"PS - I've been diving in the Bonne Terre salt mine in St. Louis." That is a lead mine, but at least a mine. A flooded salt mine would be a poor dive. Ha ha.

My favorite version is when the devil says, OK covfeve break is over, back on your heads.

Fernandinande said...

https://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/back+to+the+salt+mines

Wince said...

I have no idea if Domenech had the right colloquial feeling for the old expression. He wrote "send you back to back to the salt mine."

"I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords. I'd like to remind them that as a trusted [media] personality I could be helpful in rounding up others to toil in their underground sugar caves"

Left Bank of the Charles said...

I read the tweet as threatening to fire anyone who tries to unionize. Back to the salt mine is the boring and monotonous job the fired person would have to go back to after losing their interesting and invigorating job at the Federalist. It’s light-hearted in the way that boss jokes about firing employees always are - funny for the boss but not for the employee.

Darkisland said...

Jupiter mentions slaves in Roman times.

I've always associated the phrase with Russia under the Czar and especially under Stalin.

Russian salt mines in the Siberian gulag were especially brutal with life expectancy es of a year or two.

John Henry

Josephbleau said...

"Before the advent of the modern internal combustion engine and earth-moving equipment, mining salt was one of the most expensive and dangerous of operations because of rapid dehydration caused by constant contact with the salt (both in the mine passages and scattered in the air as salt dust) and of other problems caused by accidental excessive sodium intake.

Salt is now plentiful, but until the Industrial Revolution, it was difficult to come by, and salt was often mined by slaves or prisoners. Life expectancy for the miners was low."

I am sure this article is posted authoritatively somewhere but the salt mines are among the safest. I would rather have been a slave there than in hard rock roman gold mines where I had to break granite and breathe silica, or be an industrial peon in a 17th century English coal mine and be in a gas explosion. Excessive sodium intake might give me high blood pressure though. In the old days salt was most commonly produced by boiling natural brine from "salt licks" line Boones Lick KY and Saltville VA, which would have been a pretty easy job.

Kevin said...

Don't scare employees about their right to unionize!

Save that for guns.

Or voting for Trump.

exiledonmainstreet, green-eyed devil said...

The Era of "That's Not Funny!"

Temujin said...

I agree with Ann. He should not have used the phrase "back to the salt mines". It's hard enough these days without threatening to send someone to Detroit. Did someone say salt mines?.

He was talking above his salt.

MD Greene said...

Since when does the NLRB or any judge, anywhere, get to override the First Amendment?

Guy sounds like jerk, and it is entirely fair for members of the employee group to regard him as such. A stupid tweet has no effect on workers' right to organize a union.

As far as his misunderstanding -- if it is that -- of a phrase not often used, that's not a good look on someone who makes his living in the writing and editing world. People let you know who they are. To the extent that legal shushing prevents you from learning who they are, it is a problem.

Expat(ish) said...

@josephblau - I had no idea it was a lead mine. I do not recall seeing the word LEAD anywhere in all the artwork and kitcsh. Ick. Yuck. I know lead is not (in ore form) dissolved in water, but HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE I would not have gone diving in that.

But it was amazing and lovely.

I did wonder why the water was not salty. Derp.

-XC

The Cracker Emcee Refulgent said...

Regardless of the politics of the speaker or the lightness of their tone, management shouldn’t be commenting on their employee’s right to unionize. I wouldn’t have taken Domenech’s tweet too seriously but, God knows, there’s a lot of timid and impressionable souls out there who are easily frightened into subservience by this kind of thing. If Domenech doesn’t want a union then he can make his case once the campaign is official. Respect your employees, argue honestly, play fair, act like a fucking adult.

Ambrose said...

And whatever you do, don't threaten to pay your employees a "salary."

CJinPA said...

Remember, he posted it on Twitter, not a blog. It was an off-the-cuff joke with specific, widely understood meaning: He and his employees regularly write about the dangers of unionizing, and the economic threats they believe Big Labor poses.

Every one of his employees took it as a joke with edge, I have no doubt.

The charge against the magazine was filed by Joel Fleming, an attorney in Massachusetts who doesn’t work for the Federalist.

Yup.

Jupiter said...

"Russian salt mines in the Siberian gulag were especially brutal with life expectancy es of a year or two."

As Fernandestein implies, mining salt typically led to kidney failure in short order. So threatening to send someone "to the salt mines" is like threatening to sell a slave "down the river". That is, to the malarial cane fields of Louisiana.

D.D. Driver said...

Good to know that our whole society is now the airport terminal where even joking about doing something illegal is itself illegal. "Disparaging the boot, is a bootable offense."

#ThatsNotFunny

Ambrose said...

When the Seven Dwarves sang to Snow White "Hi Ho Hi Ho it's off to work we go", any guesses where they went?

Bill Peschel said...

Reading this thread, it's obvious that there's context missing from this.

Either he's threatening the workers' attempt to unionize, or he read about what was happening with the Young Turks, turned to his workers, and made a joke.

Which someone not connected to the workers wants to make a federal case out of.

So which is it?

Fun fact: At my last newspaper job, they were clearing out the offices prior to a move. I went through them looking for stuff to take home (it was all going into the trash), and came across correspondence from around 1959. There were rumors that the newsboys were going to organize, and the newspaper wanted to make sure that didn't happen. The circulation director was tasked with making sure the bundle drops (the street corners where newspapers were dropped off) were far enough apart to keep the boys from meeting and discussing union action.

And, yep, it was a good Democratic Party supporting newspaper.

Balfegor said...

It was obviously a joke, but I agree with Cracker Emcee -- not the kind of joke management should be making.

Re: provenance, I'm seeing in a dictionary of catch phrases:

back to the salt mines! - salt being often omitted and well often prec. I first heard it early in the 1950s, but its Brit. use prob. goes back to c. 1945. It was imported from the US and, there, may have orig. late C19. Col. Moe thinks back to the mines! is the earliest form and attributes it to a play of the 1890s, Siberia, with its dramatic poster of a party of Russians proceeding to Siberia 'under the lashes of the Cossacks'. He cites Henry Collins Brown, In the Golden Nineties, 1928, Chapter III, 'The Theatre. (Old Time Posters)'. In Irving S. Cobb, Murder Day by Day, 1933: '"That would be Terrence," he said. "Will, Gilly, it's back to the mines for me, and this day I'll need to have my brain grinding in two - three different places at once."'

From the Western idea - not so far wrong at that! that, in both imperial and in communist Russia, political prisoners were sent to do hard labour in the salt mines of Siberia. Berrey records the addition of
ye slaves.

BamaBadgOR said...

I am a retired labor/employment lawyer. I listen to Domenech's podcasts. Domenech has a great sense of humor. His tweet was a joke and should not have been held to be a violation of the NLRA by the snowflake ALJ.

wendybar said...

Or you can be like Governor Cuomo telling people with NO JOBS, NO MONEY, NO FOOD, and no prospects..that if they want to go outside, they can go get an essential job. Like they are passing out Nursing jobs like candy?? WHO would watch their kids?? Who's going to pay for their child care. It must be nice to be rich enough not to have to worry about how your are going to feed and house your children because the Government shut down the economy. $1200. doesn't go far in NYC. Tone deaf.

narciso said...

.no axios got a 5 million dollar loan for philosophizing

Amadeus 48 said...

This is silly.

What "salt mines"were there to send them to? It is an obvious joke about the unionization of various left-wing online news, opinion and propaganda sites, which were being fought like crazy by left-wing management.

Unions may be good for those who get to keep their jobs. They certainly are good for union bigwigs.

Amadeus 48 said...

By the way, is Bloomberg News unionized?

Asking for a friend.

Lurker21 said...

With all the talk about things you can't say, somebody should have made clear to Ben that this was a joke you can't make. Way back in the 1940s unionization was a bigger issue than race or gender, let alone sexual preference and sexual identity, but times have changed a lot since then.

"Back to the salt mines" was indeed something workers used to say about their jobs. As time went on those who wanted to be "fun" bosses or teachers would use it "ironically" - and Ben Domenech clearly wants to be thought of as a fun guy and fun boss.

"Send you back to the salt mines" is rarer. According to most sources, references in English to salt mines as onerous, back-breaking labor go back to the Russian practice of sending prisoners to work in salt mines for punishment. It's hard not to see a little Stalin in the quote, though the practice also went on under the tsars. There's also the book and movie Spartacus with the slaves working at a salt mine. The Romans did use slaves in salt mining, but Spartacus may not have been one of them.

Char Char Binks, Esq. said...

He was threatening to not fire them.

JPS said...

I think I have Prof. Althouse to thank for this gem from Judge Danny Boggs:

All of MY SIDE’s references and statements are to be taken in the coolest, hip-ironic, culturally aware, benign-metaphorical way possible (see Watts v. United States, and [granting my side the full benefit of] the conflicting interpretive modes the various judges/justices on the Supreme Court and the Court[s] of Appeals [have approved]),

AND

All of YOUR SIDE’s references and statements are to be taken in the most mindlessly literal, threatening way possible.

That should work for almost all of our commentators, of whatever persuasion.

D.D. Driver said...

Related, if you ever travel to Krakow, the Wieliczka Salt Mine is a must see. The highlight of the tour is St. Kinga's chapel (there are three underground chapels). It's an ornate church with sculptures and reliefs and chandeliers--all carved out of salt by a small handful of self-taught miner-artists. The legend is that one of them displayed such talent that the other miners passed a hat to send him to art school so he could finish some of the pieces.

Original Mike said...

Another day, another dollar.

MayBee said...

Other people have covered it. It was a joke he made to people he assumes (or is certain) don't want to unionize.

We say "back to the salt mines" all the time in our family, kind of tongue in cheek but not really. Like when we are painting a room or doing some physical labor but obviously of our own choosing.

I think our labor laws are dumb. The online companies that unionized have been laying people off. I think companies should have a right to let employees know they think unionization will harm them. I think it's stupid that a company should be forced to deal with a private entity like a union. I think its stupid employees should be forced to pay part of their wages to support a whole structure of people above them-- usually people who live quite well on their union dues.

Wince said...

Crazy Jane said...
Since when does the NLRB or any judge, anywhere, get to override the First Amendment?

His words are viewed as conduct interfering with employee "protected communications".

rcocean said...

Does Althouse realize that the use of the word "Corny" is itself "cornball"?

Next she''ll be talking about people being "hip" or "cool cats".

rhhardin said...

X and Y shouldn't gain more rights against Z by joining than they already have individually. In particular they shouldn't be able to force Z to negotiate with them.

That's what's wrong with labor law. Having lost the moral high ground, it's all about political power vs common law.

rcocean said...

Today's slang = normal.
Yesterday's Slang = cornball, old people speak.

rhhardin said...

Salary comes from salt. Workers used to be paid in salt. Hence, perhaps, the expression.

rcocean said...

I believe Ben D. is married to Megan McCain. So, his lack of judgement is not surprising. I have no dog in this fight, I just think judges ruling about Tweets is another example of Judicial Overreach. Evidently, like God, not a swallow falls without an unelected lawyer allowing it.

Meade said...

Worth his salt.

rcocean said...

Salt mines were nasty horrible places to work, and usually it was performed by slaves, Criminals, serfs, and POWs. Later, coal mines became more important. Today, machinery does all the work. Strangely, no woman has complained about not having the right to work in a real salt mine.

rcocean said...

Can an old Salt be full of piss and vinegar?

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

Psota @ 8:24 - yep.

tim maguire said...

Fernandistein said...
Salt is now plentiful, but until the Industrial Revolution, it was difficult to come by, and salt was often mined by slaves or prisoners. Life expectancy for the miners was low."

Lighthearted, fun loving slaves and prisoners!


He's not just threatening to send them "back" to a job they never held, he's threatening to send them back in time?

Right. That makes a lot of sense.

Ralph L said...

He should have threatened them with daily watching of The View with Meghan McCain.

Ann Althouse said...

The idea that it's a joke was understood by the judge (and me), but the problem is, in an employment situation, making a joke that also has a real meaning. The meaning is confused and ambiguous, but it's still in there, and it conveys the some sort of message to the workers that the law forbids — that the employer will retaliate against you if you try to unionize. It's idiotic for a boss to make jokes on that subject just as it would be idiotic for a boss to make a joke that he would give a raise to the women who have sex with him.

traditionalguy said...

What’s so wrong with a salt mine? Now a pepper mine would be bad.

gilbar said...

Char Char Binks said...
He was threatening to not fire them.


YES! a 'real' threat would have been:
"Unionize? Then NO MORE SALT MINE FOR YOU!"

narciso said...

that's a violation of the Geneva and Vienna conventions, ralph. why so cruel,

Meade said...

"It's idiotic for a boss to make jokes on that subject just as it would be idiotic for a boss to make a joke that he would give a raise to the women who have sex with him."

Even worse idiocy: The boss who fires anyone who refuses to have sex with her.

gilbar said...

Jupiter said...
But if he is telling his current employees, that he will send them back to the salt mines, that implies that he rescued them from the salt mines and he can send them back


Jupiter shows how it IS a real threat
"Don't like the working conditions here? FINE, We'll CLOSE; and y'all can go back where you came"

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

Speech crime... Speech crime! No anti-union talk around here. Heretic. To the salt mines.

fleg9bo said...

The Salzburg Salt Mines are a tourist attraction today. They even offer tastings. I prefer the white.

J. Farmer said...

Mr. Megan McCain can go to hell.

wildswan said...

Lurker21 9:26 AM had a good point about the difference between "send" and "go" as in "I'm going to send you to the salt mine" (threat) vs. "well, back to the salt mines" (joke).

What I wonder is: what was "the salt mine." Was it regular journalism? where you have to hide your political opinions like a slave hiding his opinions of the overseer?

wildswan said...

Lurker21 9:26 AM had a good point about the difference between "send" and "go" as in "I'm going to send you to the salt mine" (threat) vs. "well, back to the salt mines" (joke).

What I wonder is: what was "the salt mine." Was it regular journalism? where you have to hide your political opinions like a slave hiding his opinions of the overseer?

chuck said...

I'm literally shaking.

John Ray said...

I must be stupid, I thought the tweet was funny. And to think that I fancy myself as a lawyer.

Dan@8:28. Are you promoting the deadly, polluting, addictive tobacco use? Damn you! (lighting up as I speak).

Exile@8:57. Nothing is allowed to be funny anymore, anywhere, anytime. Just look at modern "comedy" -- you are not allowed to laugh, lest you offend; you must be overtaken be seething, boiling anger.

The Federalist would never become unionized -- no physical place to work, etc. The ultimate gig shop, how could or would anybody complain?

narciso said...

it' a valuable source of samizsdat in this era of blank pages, about aspects about the dezinforma, the khashoggi kerfluffle, and other truthy episodes in the recent past,

Achilles said...

Salty is also meant to describe angry whining. Saying someone is Salty means you are saying they are complaining and unhappy.

If I heard "go to the Salt Mine" most people would interpret that is going to get more complaints with other complainers.

Original Mike said...

Jokes aren't worth making in the current era. I'm not sure they ever were.

Meade said...

LOL!

Original Mike said...

I guess I meant to restrict that to the workplace.

Ken B said...

If he had said “beat you with a wet noodle” would it have counted as a joke?

Amadeus 48 said...

Yeah, the employees were terrified. Which is why a third-party butt-in-ski made the complaint.

The process is the punishment.

As for all that too-cool-for-school slang, it’s what’s happening!, as Sargent Shriver might say.*

*See Amity Shlaes, Great Society.

Ken B said...

This looks to me like a small business owner not building loyalty.

Amadeus 48 said...

My high school history teacher used to threaten wise guys with a thousand lashes with a wet noodle. Very 1964.

Amadeus 48 said...

The head of my department at my firm used to tell complainers, “Shut up and keep rowing.” Somehow I don’t think he wanted to engage.

Richard Dolan said...

"Don't scare employees about their right to unionize!"

Because the employees at the Federalist are in the journalism and punditry business, one can take judicial notice that they are all child-like victims, easily intimidated, and in need of protection from anodyne silliness. Until the Union gets established, in which case they really become victims with only themselves to blame.

It's an exercise in dumbing down the idea of a 'threat', a trend one can see elsewhere in the law.

Yancey Ward said...

Wow. This is a mad world we live in.

Greg the class traitor said...

Anyone at a conservative opinion magazine who would vote to be part of a union should be fired.

If I were running the Federalist, and the employees voted to unionize, I would immediately shut down the magazine as a failure

Dr Weevil said...

When I was in high school (1967-71) a similar phrase was popular when someone annoyed us: "When I'm king, you'll be in the salt mines." Don't know if there's a specific source for that version in some movie or TV show or other.

Vance said...

I'm confused about Althouse's stand. Yes, this is a dumb joke to make if in fact there is an actual effort to unionize. But this complaint came from a Massachuessets lawyer, i.e. a political hit on one of the very few right of center media/opinion outlets.

If you are an up and coming right wing journalist, you pretty much have to write for the Federalist. Where else can you go? All of the rest of the right wing web is pretty much influential bloggers--Ace, conservativetreehouse, etc. Instapundit and PJ Media are about it. I suppose Babylon Bee, but you are restricted to satire there.

Josephbleau said...

Well it's get down on salt mines day I recon. Salt is soft so its easy to drill and shoot. Salt mines are always dry (or you are not there) so you don't have to pump. Salt is low density and non abrasive. Salt is water soluble so unlike black lung or silicosis the particles are removed from your lungs without any damage. MSHA has no regulation regarding sodium exposure, unlike Uranium or other heavy metals. Salt mines are big so you don't need to crawl around under 38" roof. Just what is the problem with salt mines? Some hopped up jackass making cracks about labor? f him, as the union says,"Never work on company time, never take a dump on your own time." That is in the book.

Nichevo said...

I don't think it's common today. Domenech sounds like a much older person and he's using what I see as a cornball locution. It's completely out of touch to threaten workers like that. I'm not quarreling with the judge's rejection of the argument that it's just a joke.


You know what's corny? Demanding to control the flow of threads. Threatening deletions. Like a schoolteacher from the days of dipping girls' pigtails in the inkwells. That corny.

todd galle said...

My parents never threatened the salt mines, just told me to go sit on the curb and someone would come by to pick me up. I still do not like odd cars driving up my small circle, and view them all with suspicion.

n.n said...

Activism on their own time and their own capital.

DanTheMan said...

>> it would be idiotic for a boss to make a joke that he would give a raise to the women who have sex with him.

I would never joke about such a thing. Of course she would get a raise.

DanTheMan said...

That was a joke, just in case some readers have no sense of humor and can't tell.

KellyM said...

@DarkIsland: lead mines were serious punishment for slaves or convicts in Roman times...location of said mines being Britannia - the literal back of beyond at the time. The first book in the "Falco" series by Lindsey Davis is all about how Falco goes undercover as a slave in a lead mine in Britain. Between the horrid working conditions/wretched treatment and the generally foul weather it was certain death.

This "back to the salt mines" kerfuffel reminded me of a high school classmate who used it in a humorous way when ragging on a younger adopted sibling when said child blew off their domestic chores. Probably not the most sensitive thing to say, but then kids can be cruel.

mikee said...

In Roman Legions, part of the daily pay was a ration of salt.
When you are "worth your salt" you don't have to go back to work in a salt mine.
You get to defend and expand the Empire!

Nichevo said...

On JH:



Blogger Darkisland said...
Jupiter mentions slaves in Roman times.

I've always associated the phrase with Russia under the Czar and especially under Stalin.

Russian salt mines in the Siberian gulag were especially brutal with life expectancy es of a year or two.

John Henry



Had not much awareness of Roman, etc, salt mines or the conditions therein pertaining, but Russian salt mines as an arduous punishment are alluded to in Jack London's The Sea-Wolf.

Yancey Ward said...

"I suppose Babylon Bee, but you are restricted to satire there."

My definition of satire has slowly morphed into "prognostication of reality".

narciso said...

an interesting detail, the case in santa clara county, came from someone who worked in Wuhan, and came back from there in November, that suggests something doesn't it,

Yancey Ward said...

MadisonMan is correct- how does this not get a "That's not funny" tag?

I promise to not organize the blog's commenters!

gilbar said...

Why all this talk? About STATE AND LOCAL TAXES?
Of Course the Federalist is opposed to STATE AND LOCAL TAXES, they're conservative

mikee said...

You want a salt mine? THIS is a salt mine!
https://mymodernmet.com/wieliczka-salt-mine/

I suspect not many Communist Party apparatchniks actually went down in the salt mine to insure Party ideology was being followed by the miners.

hstad said...


Blogger Birches said..."...I don't think many of the writers at the Federalist are on salary, they get paid by the article...4/23/20, 8:37 AM.." An someone else mentioned they "...work from home...?"

So the question I have, it sounds like they are 1099 contractors not employees? So what's to Unionize? 'Help me, Obi-Wan...'.

rcocean said...

Why do journalists need a union? Do doctors or lawyers have unions?

Oh wait, they aren't professionals are they? in fact, anyone can be a journalist or mine salt.

Never mind.

rcocean said...

If i was chuck todd, I'd accuse Mr. Megan McCain of having blood on his hands. The blood of the working journalists.

D.D. Driver said...

So the question I have, it sounds like they are 1099 contractors not employees? So what's to Unionize? 'Help me, Obi-Wan...'.

Speech Crimes are Speech Crimes and we should never pause to wonder whether anyone was actually harmed by the Speech Crime. We must vigorously prosecute all Speech Crimes (committed by right wing writers).

The other thing is the joke is not about salt mines, the joke is that Federalist writers would ever want to unionize. The people our government is ostensibly trying to "protect" almost certainly found the joke funny.

Tomcc said...

He should have said "I'll sell you to the gypsys!"

rehajm said...

...that the employer will retaliate against you if you try to unionize. It's idiotic for a boss to make jokes on that subject...

Okay with unions knowing who voted against unionizing? I mean some of those union organizer buys are real thugs...

I think he should have the right to tell them to pound sand.

Lurker21 said...

Today, salt mining is considered less dangerous than other forms of mining, but in the past the dangers of dehydration and excessive sodium intake were great and the work was regarded as unhealthy and risky. In Siberia, the climate and the prison conditions didn't make it any safer for the miners, and there was always the risk of cave-ins. One happened near Rochester, NY in 1994. Used in moderation, though, salt is considered good for the lungs.

D.D. Driver said...

"The idea that it's a joke was understood by the judge (and me)"

If that is true, then hizzoner is--objectively speaking--lying when he says the following:

"In viewing the totality of the circumstances surrounding the tweet, this tweet had no other purpose except to threaten the FDRLST employees with unspecified reprisal, as the underlying meaning of ‘salt mine’ so signifies."

Telling a joke is certainly "a purpose" for speaking. Unless you are actively trying to be dense, it is not only a purpose it's the primary purpose and (possibly) only purpose for the tweet at issue.

JMW Turner said...

Or, in the words of the endearing plantation philosopherette, Scarlet O'Hara,"I'll sell you South!"

Kyjo said...

I guess I don’t understand how a random non-employee has any standing to file suit.

Ben Domenech is the salt of the earth, but this judge decided he’s lost his savor. He’s good for nothing but to be cast out, and trodden under the feet of the proletariat!

Jim at said...

If they didn't like the salt mines, they could always run away and join the circus.