I decided that it would be good to get in touch with the larger Python environment, away from my usual newsgroup sources. I'm happy to say that there seems to be a very active community, with many Pythonistas commenting on what's going on.
The best overall site for this kind of information appears to be Unofficial Planet Python, which has a great selection of feeds. Maybe one day they'll add one of mine.
Last year's runaway success in the web world appeared to be Ruby on Rails, and the Python community's initial reaction was something like "it's all over, Ruby has won the web battle". I always thought this was a bit feeble, so it's been good to see Ian Bicking coming back with a reasoned response triggered by Peter Hunt's How Python Wins on the Web and a reminder that Python has many web successes behind it as well as not a few still to come.
I'm not really one for language battles (despite having been labelled on the python.org Wiki as a "language bigot". Programming languages are tools, and one should choose an appropriate tool for each task. Python's chief virtue from my point of view is the way it seamlessly welds together great facilities for both procedural and object-oriented programming. If someone finds PHP or Ruby a better language for a particular purpose I don't really see that detracting from Python.
If the energy that goes into hand-wringing went instead into producing better and more usable Python applications, this alone would help to redress the balance (if indeed it needs redressing).