PHP advocates are so sensitive…
I think PHP is great for web type stuff (for which it was clearly designed), but really isn’t a great general purpose language. Put in that context, I think Jeff’s points about PHP make a lot more sense.
It would be irresponsible to compare PHP to Pascal and somehow give it any sort of equal footing as a general purpose language. A well engineered general purpose language has many merits when you are solving general problems or if you only get to pick one language. On a slightly different tack, a special purpose language is generally better at solving special problems for which it was designed.
I think the disconnect is that language geeks are likely to rate a language by it’s general purpose qualities instead of it’s ability to solve problems in a very specific domain. For example, I don’t think anyone would agree that lisp is the best programming language for writing html templates for a web site.
IMHO In today’s world, being a single language fanboy will not work anymore. Most problems today are better served by embracing Polyglot programming and using the right tool for the job. Neal Ford has a pretty good talk on this subject if you ever have a chance to catch it at a No Fluff Just Stuff.