Sandisk Cruiser USB sticks usually have a U3 partition (The stick's configured as a CD and
a disk) so that you can plug them into a Windows system and the CD section autoboots to give you a launcher to run various U3 applications; Firefox, Thunderbird, etc. I've got a 1Gb one and it's pretty useful in that you can carry your email and browsing favourites, etc about on a stick... No PC required except for the borrowed "host" one
You say you've formatted the stick so I may be talking tosh, if not...
Linux doesn't like the CD partition, which may be causing the problem as it's trying to boot from the "runs on Windows" CD partition and your Distro's on the second partition.
If I'm right, plug it into a Windows machine and check the launcher options. One effectively blows the CD partition away and converts the stick to a disk only. Now
you can convert in into a USB bootable distro!
Hope that helps.