First off, I would suggest Fedora Core 3. I have it on my desktop machine, and it recognizes the usbdisk, though I'm not sure about cds.
As for ejecting the CD, make sure you change directory to something that's not on the CD if you're on the command line(like by typing "cd /"), or if any of your terminals are in the cd directory (maybe the one you used to mount the cd?)
The cd can be mounted easily even as a user if you add a line like
/dev/hdc /cd auto noauto,user 0 0
to the file "/etc/fstab". make sure you create the directory you want to mount to ("/cd" in this case).
Then all you have to type is
On the subject of a graphical package manager, there isn't a good one that I know of. You will need a way to get the rpms if you don't have internet access, but normally just double-clicking the files in the file browser will start the installation. If you have any trouble, make sure you run up2date at least once to install the GPG keys.
The best package manager for fedora in my opinion is yum. it's command line, but easy to use for updating/removing packages, and in some cases for installing them.