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TODAY   |  October 16, 2013

TODAY’s Take: Is ‘Snuggle House’ cuddly or creepy?

TODAY’s Willie Geist, Al Roker and Natalie Morales talk about the buzziest topics of the day, including a bizarre business in Madison, Wis., that sells cuddle time to people who need to release stress.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> wednesday morning. it's october 16th , 2013 . another pretty good-looking morning out here in new york city . i'm willie geist with al roker , natalie morales , with the nice crowd out on the plaza. you've been looking at the calendar and hearing about this in washington . october 17th is the date for the debt ceiling.

>> clock is ticking.

>> we'll explain that to you. if you're like a lot of people you have become numb.

>> you have almost given up almost.

>> when you hear the government vuning out of money, it's how does that mean to me?

>> there are very real world implications about what it could mean for your retirement savings, if you're looking to buy a house, interest rates.

>> given all of that dysfunction you shake your head. this next story gives you a reason to be proud to be an american .

>>> that's right.

>> absolutely. look at this photograph. we'll marvel at it. this is a ranger with the third ranger battalion. he was wounded in an attack of afghanistan. three of his brothers died in that attack. he was seriously injured. evacuated to germany. he was in the hospital and received a purple heart . what you're looking at here is they didn't know he was conscious. not in a coma but they thought he was unconscious and as the commander awarded him the purple heart he raised that right arm from under his blanket and pulled it up and saluted his commander.

>> unbelievable.

>> his wife wrote on facebook he she got a full report from the commander in the room and passed it on and said grown men began to weep. we were speechless at a gesture that speaks volumes about josh's courage and his character. that is an incredible photograph.

>> that is unbelievable as well as this hero as well. this is the young man that president obama pinned also the medal of honor on. he charged into taliban gunfire and saved his buddies, 12 of them. finally awarded the medal of honor yesterday. now says he wants to reenlist. these are the people that give you hope that in all of this dysfunction and dispair these are proud americans that have served our country and what this country stands for. look what they're willing to do. if politicians can put aside their politics and differences and come to the table and do these men proud would be the best statement they can make.

>> do us all proud. this is why we sent you there to actually do a job like these gentlemen and men and women that serve are doing their jobs every day.

>> i love that captain swenson is only the 6th living recipient of the medal of honor immediately asked to reenlist. he wants to go back. but you're right, the people screwing things up in washington are a small group of people. this is such a great country and so much good going on around the country.

>> we wanted to look at the bright side today.

>> yeah.

>> absolutely.

>> we also wanted to follow up on a story that got you going yesterday. massachusetts high school student erin cox was punished after her school learned she went to a party where alcohol was served in order to drive her drunk friend home. erin fox was sober and went to pick up her drunk friend.

>> goes to the party and gets her friend.

>> the police said she wasn't drinking.

>> exonerate her completely.

>> completely sober.

>> so they took away the honor students title of captain of the girl's volleyball team and suspended her for five games.

>> they issued such a nonstatement.

>> nothing.

>> so they put it out. they say we don't have a zero tolerance policy . they say that's a false assertion, but here's what the superintendent did say. while some may decry the administrations actions as unfair or inconsistent with the principles of due process our administration wholeheartedly disagree. to be clear the massachusetts supreme judicial court ruled that participation in athletics is a privilege.

>> so they can take it away at a whim.

>> i don't think when erin cox showed up to help her friend out she thought she was suspended her right of that privilege to play on the volleyball team.

>> she was being a good friend.

>> she wasn't thinking, oh, i could get in trouble for this because she's not doing anything wrong.

>> the superintendent of schools says it cites that a massachusetts high school rule that says chemical health rule prohibits student athletes from possessing alcohol or distribution. she didn't do any of those things.

>> what the other students were doing, illegal drinking.

>> she wasn't drinking, she wasn't drunk. she didn't take part in this and yet the school still goes ahead and because they don't have the gumption or the backbone to admit they were wrong, they're going to stand by this wrong headed decision.

>> you wonder how much more they're going to continue to stand by this statement?

>> i think they're going to keep going. we want you to go to #orange room.

>> i support erin cox is what is trending.

>> let us know should they back down. and if they don't, what should happen?

>> we have given it two days and tried to give the school the fair hearing to tell their side of the story.

>> we would love for you to reach out to us. we would love to hear a spokesperson talk to us. we have tried.

>> do not make us send jeff rossen up to find you.

>> oh, boy.

>> he will track you down like a dog and gut you like a fish.

>> you don't want that knock on your door.

>> you see rossen and people start jumping out windows.

>> i understand when schools have to make tough decisions and they have to stand by their decisions but in all fairness, here is a young girl who is an honor roll student and incredible athlete and was doing something to help a friend which every parent would say i wish my kid would do the same.

>> what a teachable moment it would be for students and young adults to see that adults can admit when they're wrong.

>> yeah.

>> and we made a mistake, we rushed to judgment, on further review, we made a mistake.

>> a little common sense, that's all.

>> when the police are even saying, oh, yeah, we were there. she was completely sober. she was not part of the party, you know that even the police are saying, come on.

>> all right.

>> let's think this one through guys. on a totally different note.

>> boy.

>> i love this story.

>> i learned this morning the term snugglehouse and you're about to learn it with me.

>> is that where snuggle the bear lives?

>> no this is worse than that. madison, wisconsin. i love it. there's a business there that wants to offer cuddle time.

>> just cuddle time. nothing else.

>> for those in need of a hug. it looks like a hotel but instead of sleep you buy cuddles from, quote, professionals.

>> you're a professional cud lett cuddler.

>> or prostitution?

>> natalie went there.

>> that's the concern here.

>> let's get an explanation. here is the snuggle house employee.

>> you feel better, you know, anxiety in a lot of people just kind of disapates. you want to curl up and lay down and just good old fashioned snuggling can do that. if you want to talk. if you want to cry on my shoulder i'm cool with that.

>> you mean once you brush the hair away.

>> i'm good.

>> on a good day they can make up to $500 snuggling.

>> a lot of money in snuggling.

>> they were supposed to open it yesterday. there was a delayed -- they're not opening it now for the time being because there is concern that people might take it a little too far.

>> i'm feeling a little low on snuggles.

>> they could use a snuggle house in washington .

>> they could.

>> i'm sure a few of those congressmen have gone to a snuggle house or two.

>> you think?

>> when i was right out of college i lived in a very seedy neighborhood of atlanta and on both sides of the street there were spas where you could go and get treatments.

>> gentlemen's clubs.

>> or snuggle.

>> very happy.

>> just throwing that out there.

>> okay.

>> we finally found the line in halloween decorations, don't you think?

>> i think so.

>> there's a guy in mustang, oklahoma, look what he put in his drive way.

>> no.

>> that prompted 911 calls. those are dummies everybody.

>> one more dummy in the house.

>> johnny mullins lives there and has fake dead bodies in his drive way. the one against the garage has he has head closed in the garage. the one in the foreground is run over by f 150. they responded to the 911 calls. told him there was nothing illegal and told him to keep going with it.

>> can you imagine if your kid sauce that? come on. come on.

>> he only had the one in the garage and after this became news, he put another one out.

>> more bodies. more blood.

>> guy makes no apologies for the halloween decorations.

>> don't send us those kind of decorations. we're still looking for your entries for your haunted house decorations. so send us your halloween home decorations. send them to us and we'll be sure to show you the best of.

>> yes.