A lot of Americans, even on the Left, are wary of commemorating May Day, even though its genesis as an international workers’ day is completely rooted in this country and in reformist politics, as a commemoration of the Haymarket affair of 1886, aimed at adoption of an eight-hour work day. That’s because it was for so long appropriated by communists.

But I feel sorta like the Cincinnati Reds manager who was asked about a right-wing congressman’s demand that the baseball team change its name because it reminded people of godless communists. “Let the communists change their name,” he said. “We had it first.”

Besides, communism is all but dead. But more to the point, the eight-hour working day isn’t looking very healthy, either.

Here are some midday treats that I might not have to offer if this was a holiday as it should be:

* Baltimore prosecutor charges six police officers with varying murder and manslaughter charges in death of Freddie Gray.

* At the Plum Line, Paul Waldman asks the obvious troubling question: would the charges against police officers in Baltimore have happened without the preceding violence?

* Cook Political Report‘s Amy Walter endorses Jonathan Rauch’s plea for a return to machine-dominated, secretive, transactional politics instead of an ideologically-driven competition. I don’t agree, but it’s worth reading.

* Paul Krugman, on the other hand, argues for ideology plus an open mind, which makes more sense to me.

* At WaPo, Catherine Rampell argues budget-driven school closures in Kansas omen of fiscal politics nationally if GOP wins big in 2016.

And in non-political news:

* R&B performer and songwriter Ben E. King dies at 76.

As we break for lunch, here’s King’s biggest hit, from 1961: “Stand By Me.”

YouTube video

Our ideas can save democracy... But we need your help! Donate Now!

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.