1) I added in the cursor:hand because i have read that older versions of IE need it. i have tried it with just cursor:pointer and with both - neither one works... and good catch on the semicolon - i added that in.
2) no errors seem to be thrown anywhere in the process which makes it more difficult. using Firefox and firebug it appears as though the cursor styles are actually being added on roll over. and i know the code is firing because at one point i put an alert in there and when i hovered the alert popped up.
3) i tried replacing $(this).css("cursor","pointer").css("cursor","hand"); with this.style.cursor = 'pointer' and it still didn't work.
4) i have experienced the same problem in every browser i have tested in so far (Chrome, Firefox, IE8, IE7)