Maybe it was the bright, early morning light beaming through the trees onto the railings of the front porch. Sitting there reading The News & Observer on Saturday, a few insights became clear:

“Political deal let optometrists do eye injections, records show”: House Speaker (and optometrist) Jim Black kept an eye on negotiations to get optometrists permission to do procedures previously done only by ophthalmologists, who are doctors. The optometrists tied the effort to N.C. Medical Board legislation aimed at getting better tools to police bad doctors, and Black denied being part of any deal. But correspondence shows he asked his legislative counsel, Linda Attarian, to help the optometrists with a related lawsuit. She had to tell him she couldn’t: “He agreed after I told him it would be a conflict of interest.” Insight: Deal-making is so entrenched in even the most arcane policy-making at the General Assembly that legislators have lost all sense of where ethical boundaries lie.

“Sept. 11 reports counter ‘alternative theories’”: “A nationwide poll taken this summer by the Scripps Survey Research Center at Ohio University found that more than a third of those surveyed said the federal government either took part in the attacks or allowed them to happen.” Insight: As feared after the Bush administration lied to get public support for the invasion of Iraq, many have lost faith in anything they say and are capable of believing the absolute worst.

“Controllers fear fatigue on the job”: After contract negotiations between the Federal Aviation Administration and air traffic controllers broke down, the FAA forced an agreement that bans taking sick-leave for fatigue–at a time when towers are short-staffed and the controller on duty when a jet crashed last month in Lexington, Ky., said he’d had only two hours of sleep and had worked 17 of the previous 24 hours. Insight: This is exactly the kind of problem controllers warned about in 1981 when they were all fired by President Reagan for striking illegally, breaking their union.

“Israeli minister favors war probe”: Labor Party leader (and Defense Minister) Amir Peretz calls for an independent inquiry into the country’s invasion of Lebanon that could result in the dismissal of top officials. Insight: The Israeli opposition party took just two weeks after a cease-fire to call for an investigation into failed war policies; compare that to what Democratic Party leaders have done in the three years since we invaded Iraq.

“Cheer on the Devils–and no losses yet!”: Columnist Rick Martinez highlights Saturday’s Wallace Wade Bowl–his name for any game in which Duke plays a Division I-AA team and has a chance to win. Sadly, Duke lost to Richmond, 13-0, but Martinez’ column was delightful. Insight: Like a Duke football team (or a column-writing Indy editor), even a right-wing maniac like Martinez scores on occasion.