back to article Oracle boss's Brexit Britain trip shutdown due to US government shutdown

Forget cyber security or emergency hamburgers – the real impact of the US government shutdown is only just beginning. Today, the effect of Uncle Sam's federal bodies grinding to a halt was revealed to a room full of tech execs, industry thinkers and developers alike. Oracle's co-CEO Mark Hurd was unable to visit Brexit …

  1. mt_head


    I know he's a Big Deal and all, but... is he saying that he could ordinarily travel internationally without a passport? Or is he saying that his passport had expired/was lost, and that ordinarily he could have gone and got a replacement?

    I call BS on the first, and as for the second... you can pay to have your application expedited, and the resulting turnaround actually _is_ amazingly fast... but it sounds like he or his staff efdup by leaving things to the last minute. I'm not sure that inspires me with confidence re: his management of a large company (as if I needed more evidence after his tenure at HP.)

    1. hottuberrol

      Re: WTAF?

      well ....he didnt forget his ATM card when he needed to pull an account statement in order to impress a blonde lady with the size of balance. Just sayin'.....priorities....

    2. CheesyTheClown

      Re: WTAF?

      I was wondering about this as well. I don't care if you're Donald Trump or even someone important, try getting through Heathrow without a passport. You can't even transfer planes in the same terminal without being treated like a criminal at Heathrow. I've traveled business or first class through Heathrow many times and I just finished moving all my frequent flier miles (200,000+ executive club miles) to One World because I refuse to travel through the UK anymore since the security got stupid.

      So, the author is awful. This was an expired passport.

      I'm an American citizen and I've had passports replaced in 12 hours or less by having FedExing the forms through Boston and having them walked through by an agent. It's pretty simple actually.

      But during a shutdown, I'd imagine that this is not possible. That said, it's an Oracle thing, it's not really important that people like Hurd show up... even Larry does things like ditching his keynote at Oracle conferences to play with his boats.

    3. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: WTAF?

      No, what he said is that normally he could go and order a peon (aka government worker) to hand over a passport pronto, because he's Mr Bigwig, see ?

      You would be entirely screwed if you tried that, but He knows the right people. Handy when you don't have enough brains to remember your papers. Except that, aw shucks, this time the right people weren't available, so he's stuck just like us mudders.

      1. Evil Auditor Silver badge

        Re: WTAF?

        Don't know about the USA but in my (European) home country I can get an emergeny passport at major airports (and possibly other places) within probably less than an hour. Such a passport won't be valid for the usual ten years but only for a month or so. Nothing to do with being Mr Superimportant.

    4. MeRp

      I believe what he was saying is the latter; his passport had expired or was lost, and so he needed a new one to travel to another country. With the Federal government shut down (including, presumably, those who issue passports) he was unable to acquire a new passport; the question of whether he'd waited until the last "minute" and gotten an expedited passport, or had ordered it with plenty of time is moot, as if it was not yet issued when the shutdown began, he would not be able to get it until after the gov started back up (which hasn't happened yet).

      When he said it isn't ordinarily a problem, I took it to refer to the fact that you can normally travel all about the US (which is probably the vast majority of his travels) without a passport. But he could have also been referring to the fact that you can normally get a new passport issued relatively easily and quickly (well, it takes a while if you don't pay for expedited, but even then it is a matter of weeks).

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just deserts

    So his "travel license" expired because he forgot to pay maintenance. So fitting. I hope he got a TSA "audit" too!

    1. Fatman Silver badge

      Re: Just deserts... I hope he got a TSA "audit" too!

      I bet there are many at HP who would like to see the TSA effectively Roto-Rooter his ass.

  3. jake Silver badge

    "I actually didn't have my passport," Hurd confessed.

    What a numpty. Rule one for international travel: Keep your paperwork in order.

    I wonder what Oracle's shareholders are thinking right about now ...

  4. jamesdagger

    In our department

    He would receive the clown's trousers award.

  5. EJ

    It's in there

    I'm surprised it isn't buried in the Oracle licensing agreements that Mark Hurd and Larry Ellison are to be considered world citizens and are not subject to mortal law.

  6. chivo243 Silver badge

    Sauce for the goose...

    I am appalled that he would be able to travel without proper papers... My son was given the second look as his hair had grown. Glad this shutdown has the beginnings of a silver lining!

  7. TheVogon Silver badge

    Almost like being held hostage then!

    What comes around goes around....

  8. Geoffrey W Silver badge

    FTA: "So far, the effects of the President Trump's executive have been limited to minor issues, ..."

    Minor issues such as thousands of people, many on not particularly great salaries to start with, not being paid. If only they could furlough needing to live in a house and keeping warm, eating, medical treatment, etc.

    Not to worry. They advise if you need legal assistance then just consult your personal attorney. Yeah. I keep my personal attorney in the closet. Don't we all?

    IMHO the ability to have government shutdowns is a completely mad way to run a country. What were they thinking when they came up with that mechanism?

    1. Mike 16 Silver badge

      Shutdown as negotation

      @geoffrey W:

      -- What were they thinking when they came up with that mechanism? --

      Just as Bill gates did not invent CTRL_ALT_DEL, but did popularize it, there was guy who weaponized the shutdown as the one true way to govern.

      Nice thing about recent history is that many of the players are still around, so you might ask him:


      (I predict, though, that the answer will be somewhere between "The end justifies the means" and "F-you commie rat-bastard")

      Not to single out Newt, really. A _lot_ of politicians are lawyers, and most seem to think that "If it is not illegal (yet), it is perfectly OK". Also, a surprising number (at least in the U.S. Congress) of politicians are former cheerleaders

      and once you have a certain level of physical gymnastics handled, perhaps getting into mental and moral gymnastics is easier.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Bill gates did not invent CTRL_ALT_DEL

        By Jove, you're actually right.

      2. Geoffrey W Silver badge

        Re: Shutdown as negotation

        RE: "Cheerleaders"

        Only two women in that list of cheerleading politicians. I'd love to see Mitt (Sexy Legs) Romney and Rick (I'm not drunk) Perry in a skimpy skirt and low cut top. I didn't know they had male cheerleaders, never having seen any. But then, I'm British and not yet fully immersed in the cultural highs of the USA. Ya' live and learn.

        1. Mark 85 Silver badge

          Re: Shutdown as negotation

          I didn't know whether to upvote this or reach for the mind bleach. I ended up choosing do both. I just hope the mind bleach is past it's "use by" date.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "Not to worry. They advise if you need legal assistance then just consult your personal attorney. Yeah. I keep my personal attorney in the closet. Don't we all?"

      Based on my experience (of US tv and films, natch), every US citizen has their own personal attorney, physician and therapist on speed dial.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Not every US citizen. Just the producers and executive producers of tv and films, just like in Blighty. The rest of us pretty much ignore them on this side of the pond, too.

      2. Trainee grumpy old ****

        Based on my experience (of US tv and films, natch), every US citizen has their own personal attorney, physician and therapist on speed dial.

        and dentist!

    3. katrinab Silver badge

      It could happen in the UK if the Supply and Appropriation Bill didn't pass. However, this just doesn't happen.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Usually it is not a problem because anywhere in the United States, you can typically go to one of many locations and get a passport so you can travel," he said.

    Awesome. The country that's paranoid about checking international travel has a self-service print on demand passport service.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Large fries, happy meal, upsize meal...


    2. stiine Bronze badge

      Yes, they're called U.S. Post Office locations.

    3. Daedalus Silver badge

      US Postal Service

      To clarify, you can APPLY for a passport at any US Postal Service office (if you can find one, they're closing "unnecessary" offices and have been for decades). It still takes 4-6 weeks to turn the handle on the process, though I think there's a "pay extra to jump the queue" option that zillionaires would think nothing of using. Frankly, given the calibre of the desk droids at most offices, I wouldn't want to rely on them. I do renewals by mail and take care of the paperwork/photos myself.

      I think that Herr Hurd is also mistaken in saying it's the USPS's issue. That service is independent of the Federal budget so junk mail is flowing as freely as ever. Maybe they have dedicated State Dept. employees at USPS offices, and they are the ones staying home. Or maybe it's just that the office in DC where all the applications normally go is closed. Or maybe there's an Executive Travel Service we don't hear about that employs minions to queue up in said office, and they have told Hurd that it's not on.

    4. Paul

      I was amazed how trivial it is to get a passport in the US, it's mostly easier than opening a bank account in the UK - a few forms of ID, a few photos, and a visit to a larger post office where you simply go to the man who does them.

      1. Daedalus Silver badge


        I'm not sure what "trivial" means, especially compared to, say, the process in the UK. You need proof of citizenship, which is one of birth certificate, naturalization certificate, or existing passport. The former just has your name (or at least the name of the person you claim to be) whereas the latter two have an actual photo. I don't recall sending in any other ID: I suppose the in-person application might involve a second photo ID of some kind. For my UK passport in the days of my youth, it was just the birth certificate, a form, and a picture (OMG that beard.....).

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Today, the effect of US federal bodies grinding to a halt was revealed to a room full of tech execs, industry thinkers and developers alike.

    Because in our wide-eyes eagerness to wade into the cesspool of politics we sometimes forget that our purpose in life is to use technology to solve problems:

    Maybe you've heard of this?

    1. Daedalus Silver badge

      Face off! Face on!

      Given that we're about to enter the era of real-time video impersonation, I'd say that video appearances by the Really Important People are going to be few and far between.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think it's very cute that people in this thread think that Mark would be flying commercial - even First Class.

    There's no way in hell he's flying with the unwashed and going to Heathrow - he's on the Oracle G50 or Challenger and he's flying to whichever private FBO is most convenient for the conference centre. I would think he's probably quite correct that many countries wouldn't check passports for bigwigs like that, and I imagine he was quite surprised to find out that the UK does.

    I would also imagine that whichever assistant was in charge of keeping his passport(s) valid and up to date will be looking for a new job today

  12. StuntMisanthrope Bronze badge

    Have another look...

    When you have to present insight to a wide audience, it's not what you say, but perhaps how you avoid the obvious.

  13. theunregistered

    At least all those attending Davos this week won't have to suffer McDonalds happy meals....or will they?

  14. This post has been deleted by its author

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