Gary Shteyngart(Tumblr)

• After it was shelved earlier this week, Congress passed a $.79 billion recovery package for Hurricane Sandy. The first round of funds will cover the insurance claims. [NYT]

• Former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords attended a private meeting in Newtown, Connecticut earlier today. Giffords, who was shot while in office and has since retired, did not speak at a public event. [BuzzFeed]

• The race for Uptown City Council has just gotten a little bit more anti-Semitic and a little bit more reminiscent of the old New York days. [Politicker]

• David Axe at Wired looks at the arsenal of Iranian weapons, which closely resemble older American, Russian, and British weaponry with upgrades. [Wired]

• For your weekend: Jonathan Ames narrates a documentary about author Gary Shteyngart’s obsessive book blurbing habit. The doc features Tablet’s own Jacob Silverman: