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Stay Middle Classy, America! 'Marketplace' Asks: But How?

Ryssdal Boots
Lyndsay Knecht
Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal gets his Dallas on with a pair of Justin boots during a visit Monday night.

Five stories that have North Texas talking: A changing middle class, vanishing legal tender, food over Woodall Rodgers.

With tonight’s Presidential Debate! Part Deux looming, Kai Ryssdal and the crew from Marketplace dropped into town to talk politics Monday night.

Their theory: This election isn’t really about politics. It’s about the economy. Hence the name of their tour -- the “No Horse, No Race” election special.

The live show at the KERA studios in Dallas was chock-full of memorable Tejas-themed moments -- Ryssdal trying on a pair of Justin boots and chomping into some fresh chips brought by Luna’s Tortillas folks, KERA’s BJ Austin pondering whether Congress qualifies for the “all hat, no cattle” label.

Maybe the most provocative (and entertaining) segment was an exploration of the history of the middle class by Krissy Clark, senior wealth and poverty reporter for Marketplace. She came complete with shopping bags, little dolls and fancy shoes. Her most eye-opening stat: Ten percent of Americans are small business owners, while 70 percent don’t have a college degree.

The show's Tom Fudge has more on the widening wealth gap explored last night. And if you missed it, we’ll have a link to the full show posted soon.

-- Rick Holter

Canadian Bacon: Not Foreign Policy

We’ve done our best to give you ways to max out your presidential debate experience so far. But hijacking a bout between the candidates by asking about pizza preference? Not something we’d thought of. (Thank goodness!)

Pizza Hut was going to give one intrepid patron a pizza a week for 30 years -- or $15,600 -- if that person asked President Obama or Mitt Romney whether they prefer sausage or pepperoni during the town-hall debate tonight. They changed their minds, though

NPR’s Mark Memmott has everything you need to prep for round 2. (Live coverage begins at 8 p.m. on KERA-90.1 FM and Channel 13.)

-- Lyndsay Knecht

Cash Heist Comes With A Caveat: ‘Useless Until 2013’

The Federal Reserve in New Jersey was slated to receive a shipment of brand-spanking-new $100 bills…. but a number of them have apparently been stolen.

The funny (or not) thing is that the bills can’t even be used until 2013.

The bills are MIA after being packed onto a commercial flight leaving Dallas for Philadelphia International Airport.

A substantial number of the $100 bills vanished from the plane before or after landing in Philadelphia. Details are scant, but a spokesman for the FBI says at some point from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, the bills disappeared.

Multiple authorities are investigating. If you know anything about the missing cash, the FBI would like to chat: (215) 418-4000.

BTW: All sorts of interesting security features have been woven into the new $100 bill, as always, to prevent counterfeiting.

-- Justin Martin

Relish, Then Savor Meals At Klyde Warren Park

There’s a tasty addition to Klyde Warren Park as the deck park over Woodall Rodgers freeway prepares to open Oct. 27. It looks like former Ritz-Carlton executive chef John Coleman is behind a burger-centric food truck called Relish that should be planted onsite just after the park opens.

But that’s not it. Coleman plans to open a restaurant called Savor as well, complete with easy splitches (split and switch fare, spread that around) like buttermilk fried calamari -- and a “custom mixology program.” It’ll be right across from the Nasher -- which, as you know, is very near the food trucks that have been luring folks to the Arts District at lunchtime.

Coleman hopes Savor will open by the end of next summer. Karen Robertson-Jacobs of The Dallas Morning News has the story.

-- Lyndsay Knecht

Put The Pretzels In Your Purse: AA Debuts In-Flight Meal Reservations

If you plan to fly from DFW to New York City or Los Angeles this holiday season, take note: American Airlines is the first to offer first class or business class ticketholders the option to order meals online before even packing their bags. (This presents a conundrum, what with Virgin Airlines’ nifty videogame controllers stowed away in the armrests.)

The DFW Airport to LaGuardia flight is one of just two that serve as maiden voyages for the entree reservations program; on Nov. 15, though, DFW to LAX (or the reverse) also gets in. Once they have a ticket, passengers can choose what they want to eat online from 30 days until 24 hours before the takeoff.

Recently, the choice between free meals in first class on domestic flights included a choice between grilled barbecue chicken salad garnished with bleu cheese and spiced pecans, or something called artichoke mezzaluna pasta. I mean, who can weigh that choice on the spot anyway?

-- Lyndsay Knecht