Actually, tried exactly that in udev.permissions and it didn't work. However, in udev.rules there is a line at the top of the file that deals with cdroms like this:
BUS="ide", KERNEL="*[!0-9]", PROGRAM="/bin/cat /proc/ide/%k/media", RESULT="cdrom*", NAME="%k", GROUP="cdrom", MODE="0660"
I changed the MODE to "0666" and it worked just as I intended. I presume the MODE key in the rules file takes precedence over the permissions file.
You suggestion for the USB drive worked. I removed the ub driver since it claims to cripple usb_storage so now my drive shows up as sdx like it used to. Then I just used rc.modules to modprobe the proper module in on boot.
Thanks for the help.