It could very well be that the HAL or USB driver isn't loading in time. The keyboard didn't work with a USB to PS/2 adapter, but come to think of it, I've never gotten a USB keyboard to work with one of those.
I did notice that at the log on prompt, if I unplug, and then plug the keyboard back in, it seems to work fine.
I'll keep screwing around with this, feel free to post if anything rings a bell.
I'm telling you though, out of the 8+ distros I've tried, Linux Mint by FAR kicks ass. It's nice to see Linux developers like yall and Texstar making some of these bigger distros actually usable