On the SWAT blog there's a recent post comparing Python and PHP and some of the reasons the author prefers the former over the latter.
Even after just one week using Python, I remember why I'll always prefer it - it empowers me as a programmer. In the Python community, they refer to it as the "batteries included" philosophy - with the mere inclusion of a library, anything becomes possible. Combine that with clean and readable syntax, fluent interfaces, powerful list comprehensions, list slicing, an interactive console, and too many other features to mention, it's clear to see why.
He illustrates one of the differences between the two languages in the handling of things as objects versus strings. He recommends developers at least take a look at Python as an alternative to some of the usual PHP you might be used to.